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 5/27, 6/10, 6/24, 7/8, 7/22, 8/5, 8/19, 9/2, 9/16, 9/30, 10/14
This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.
- 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
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 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 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 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."
"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 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."