"I’ve never had a writing instructor before who so consistently identified the highest-leverage problem spots in our stories while mining the richest aspects of each author’s vision. Furthermore, through the craft lessons, concepts I’ve only understood abstractly suddenly became graspable and concrete because of the way they were applied during critiques. I'm a better editor of my own work as a result." - former student
Most writers dread editing their own work. But an intuitive, rigorous editing practice is the difference between a good unpublished manuscript and a great book. A writer can and must be their own best editor.
In this advanced course, split between craft and workshopping student writing, we will learn how to:
- Develop an editing practice that is just as fulfilling, empowering and joyful as the writing itself;
- Make optimal use of the edits received from others;
- Conceive of our art as a marketable product.
Each week there will be a brief craft seminar focusing on the different stages of the editing process, including: structural edits; editing for story, character, narration and theme; and line edits. Most of the classes will be spent workshopping individual chapters or stories, paying close diagnostic attention to where in the editing process each piece is. The class is open to writers with some workshop experience, and participants will workshop two pieces each.
In this course we will look first at the macro aspects of editing and then move to the micro aspects, taking a systematic approach that students can apply to whatever stage their writing is at. There will also be craft exercises to help students edit at the micro level for language, rhythm and register.
*No Class December 23rd or 30th
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Two workshopped pieces with careful feedback from both the instructor and the group
- A plan for how to self-edit each piece
- An array of literature on the art of editing
- Develop an editing practice that is just as fulfilling, empowering and joyful as the writing itself
- Make optimal use of the edits received from others
- Conceive of our art as a marketable product
Week 1: Welcome and introductions, Scheduling workshop submissions, and Discussion of writing goals and expectations, Craft lecture on story and plot, Workshop #1
Week 2: Craft lecture on structure, Workshop #2
Week 3: Craft lecture on narration, voice and character (part one), Workshop #3
Week 4: Craft lecture on detail and character (part two), Workshop #4
Week 5: Craft lecture on language, rhythm and metaphor, Workshop #5
Week 6: Craft lecture on putting it all together in the edit, Workshop #6
Lexi Freiman is a graduate of Columbia's MFA program, where she was a De Alba Fellow. She has been a recipient of the NYC Emerging Writer's Fellowship, an Aspen Words scholarship, and has published fiction in The Literary Review. Her first novel, Inapropriation, was published by Ecco, HarperCollins in July 2018, and was long-listed for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. She was a fiction editor at both George Braziller and Persea Books from 2012-2017.
"Lexi is an insightful editor who taught me a lot about how to read and edit texts with great rigor and sensitivity."
"Working on the book, I had help from a wonderful, brilliant editor at Braziller, Lexi Freiman. She was the person who could tell me, “You may be wanting to accomplish X with this piece, but for me, as a reader, I’m seeing it as Y – is this what you want?” – ... this kind of feedback is essential."
"A gimlet-eyed satirist."
"A savage writer, hilarious and brilliant."
"INNAPROPRIATION's crackling, electric prose is an uncomfortable joyride. You'll laugh out loud and squirm and wince, but you sure won't put it down. This novel is an original treasure--sentence by sentence, there is just no book like it."
“Intelligent and has its finger on the zeitgeist.”
"Freiman’s style, meanwhile, is nimble and pert, parkouring disrespectfully across the suburban mall of the English language with little regard for its more bipedal shoppers. When Ziggy gets her period, the blood leaves stains under her fingernails “like the dark veins of prawn shit.” When holding in a sob, Ziggy’s body gets “tight and steamy as a wonton.” Horny teenage boys “unfurl” in Lex’s presence, “pink and willing like well-walked dog tongues.” The author has a particular love of verbing, and she tucks her coinages into paragraphs like tiny, spiky gifts. A lit joint “jewels”; pubic mounds “cauliflower”; a tiny boy “turtles” from his ill-fitting formal wear. For a moment, your eyes are teenagers again, groping inexpertly at the sentence’s bra clasp. Reading rebecomes gawky. The eye trips. The mind chrysanthemums.”
"A witty, energetic send-up of the current pieties surrounding racial and sexual identity...It goes without saying that Inappropriation is irreverent, but this is a loving, sisterly sort of ridicule, spoofing the absurdities of the very young and very woke."
“Lexi Freiman edited my book with the close attention of a storybook detective; her instinct and intuition help guide my stories to a place I would never have reached on my own.”
"I learned a lot in your class and have been given language about writing that I’ll continue to use in the future. I'm glad that I can return to your lectures which approach editing from so many different angles. Reading them, and participating in your workshops, have been some of the best training in writing I’ve ever had. Your notes were invaluable in articulating what functioned or didn't land right."