Once you have a draft of your novel, the great task of revision begins. Many writers wonder how to approach this foreign landscape. Do I start with big concepts? Should my focus be on the sentence level?
Most people would be surprised just how many rounds of revision go into a published novel. There is sentence level perfecting, sculpting narrative arcs and plot points, and deepening of the material overall. It can be a lot to process. Many writers get so overwhelmed with revision that they abandon or drift away from their books before they can become the fully realized works of art they were meant to be.
This class is designed as a continuing course for those who have taken the 12-week novel draft generator workshop, but any student who has a full first draft (or a large chunk of a draft) is welcome to apply. The course consists of four craft lectures on revision and six workshops where we will workshop each student’s novel and offer suggestions for revision. Additionally, each student will meet one-on-one with me to outline a specific revision plan. Soon after the final class, students will have the opportunity to participate in a moderated Q&A and share their work with agents who work with novels.
I will also offer revision strategies, tips I have used to keep the process fun and productive for myself, and ways to approach revision so that one falls in love with the process. This class can also be a type of support group as we all plunge into revising our books. No one should have to go through this process alone, and by looking carefully at other people’s novels-in-process you will learn so much about how best to revise your own work.
To apply to class, please submit no more than 25 double-spaced pages of your novel (no less than 10 double-spaced pages). If you have not previously taken Taylor's 12-week novel draft generator, please also include a basic outline of the rest of your novel.
*Note: this class meets every other week. Class will meet on 3/29, 4/12, 4/26, 5/10, 5/24, 6/7, 6/21, 7/19, 8/2, 8/16, 8/30
This class will meet via Zoom for our introductory session, as well as for the classes that focus on craft lectures and discussion. For class meetings focused on workshop, you'll use the text-chat feature only, and there will be no video or audio component. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Tools, tips, and strategies for making the revision process accessible and pleasurable
- Craft lectures on the revision process that deal directly with revision for novels and other long projects
- Support and advice from a small, dedicated cohort of fellow novelists
- Written instructor and peer feedback on a current draft of your novel as well as a revised draft of your novel (page count for each submission to be discussed in class)
- Two one-on-one meetings with Taylor to discuss revision strategies specific to your novel
-10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students should expect to read their classmate’s novel projects with care and consideration. In the last 6 weeks of the class, please keep in mind that you’ll need to read up to one novel submission and prepare comments and a critique letter each week. Each student should expect to do about 6-8 hours of work to prepare for each class meeting.
Class 0: Introductions
Class 1: Transforming a paragraph
Class 2: Tricks to make revision fun and doable
Class 3: Workshop
Class 4: Workshop
Class 5: Workshop
Class 6: Identifying major strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript
Class 7: The power of a fully formed chapter
Class 8: Workshop
Class 9: Workshop
Class 10: Workshop
Taylor Larsen is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program. She currently teaches fiction writing for Catapult and Concordia St. Paul's MFA Program, and has taught at Columbia University and Pace University. Taylor is the author of the debut novel, Stranger, Father, Beloved (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, July 2016). Her work has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Huffington Post, Joyland, and The Brooklyn Review. Taylor was a Peter Taylor fellow at The Kenyon Review Writers Conference in summer 2018. Originally from Alexandria, VA, Taylor currently resides in the Hudson Valley.
"Taylor is a seasoned and highly skilled instructor, who helped me grow as a writer exponentially. Her thoughtful approach allowed me to better understand the mastery of craft, all while helping me recognize my unique voice and how to make it shine. Highly empathetic, caring, and kind, Taylor is the best teacher I’ve ever had the honor to work with, and I can’t recommend her enough. Skip everything and work with Taylor if you can! The experience will be life-changing!"
"I had been writing short fiction for years before I decided to write my first novel. Once I finished the draft, I realized that a novel is an entirely different animal than a short story—I had no idea how to approach the revision process. Enter Taylor Larsen's 10-Week Online Novel Revision Workshop. Through a mixture of workshops and craft talks, this bi-weekly class taught me how to approach the revision process on both an intimate sentence level and in terms of big picture changes. It was also incredibly helpful to have one-on-one conferences with Taylor outside of class, during which she helped me come up with a concrete list of things I could do to make my novel better. As someone who initially found the idea of revising a novel to be quite abstract, having a concrete plan of action made it not only tangible but approachable. Now, I have a novel draft that feels so much more polished; I also have learned valuable lessons about revision that I will take with me when I write my next novel. It is so rare to find a workshop that allows you to get feedback on an entire draft of a novel rather than just a chapter of it. That alone makes this class worthwhile. However, for me the real gift of this workshop was something unexpected. I went into it knowing I would get excellent feedback on my novel and have the opportunity to be a part of a small, nurturing community of writers, but I did not know that I would also discover something essential that was missing from my writing practice: love. Taylor approaches the writing and revision process with so much love and encourages other writers to do the same. In a world where so many of us are conditioned to agonize over writing and make cynical jokes about how much we feel tormented by it, it was refreshing to hear Taylor remind us again and again that the key ingredient to writing and revising is to fall in love with it. I can truly say that as a result of this class, I have experienced exactly that. "
"Larsen’s ability to understand the deep desires of her characters is where her brilliance lies; even if they are not realized, we know them intimately through the sheer strength and precision of her prose."
"Larsen makes a noteworthy debut with a family drama that explores loyalty, lies, and well-being…Larsen captures every nuance with finesse, every emotion with grace. An emotionally intelligent family drama that examines the breaking point of a marriage."
"A mesmerizing, unsparing exploration of one man’s descent, told in subtle, precise language that is reminiscent at times of Raymond Carver, Haruki Murakami, and Carson McCullers, but entirely Larsen’s own creation; a wonderful debut."
"Taylor was a generous, fun and kind editor, who has both an incredibly sharp eye for tracking the larger scope of the novel, while also paying attention to the line-level edits that get you there. She does a great job of channeling what you are striving for within your work, getting excited about that with you, and then helping you sharpen both those things which are your greatest strengths as well as identifying and tightening the weak spots. I can’t recommend her highly enough."
"Taylor is the consummate teacher and guide through the unwieldy world of fiction writing. She is a great listener and always encouraging, but she is also very realistic about what works and what does not work in a story or a chapter. She made me appreciate my own writing voice, which is probably the most valuable belief a teacher can inspire within a writer."
"Taylor not only made me a better writer but made me remember what it is I love about writing in the first place. Her enthusiasm bled into everything we discussed which made her critiques that much more effective in conveying how I could reshape or alter my work. The nuanced way she wove helpful suggestions into class helped me become a better reader as well a writer. I found that with Taylor’s help, I was better able to articulate what I wanted to achieve through my work. In addition I was better able to articulate my criticisms of others. Both of these were key in being better able to assess my own writing. Taylor’s suggestions always seemed to make my writing stronger and her encouragement helped give me a voice. I am now confident to continue in the writing process but also to pursue submitting my pieces for publication."