Congrats, you’ve finished your novel! So, what’s next? Maybe you’ve never been comfortable editing your own work. Maybe you know part of your story sags, but you’re not sure how to fix it. Maybe you’re not sure whether your story is actually any good.
As a trade editor for the past decade, I can attest that whether you’ve written a literary novella or a potboiler mystery, there are crucial junctures that act as tent poles in your story; if these markers are structured correctly, your book will flow well and deliver a satisfying experience to your reader.
This class will show you how to perform a structural edit by locating these points in your own story, testing whether they are structurally sound, and teaching you how to finetune them. Throughout, we’ll use Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles as a reference for how a successful novel handles pacing, stakes, and payoff.
This class is a good fit for students who have a completed draft of their novel manuscript and are looking for tips on how to self-edit and advice on next steps. We will not be focusing on line-editing and language, but on pacing and structure that—independent of genre—will help your story achieve emotional resonance.
Students will need to buy a copy of Song of Achilles or obtain it from their local library. You can buy your copy at Bookshop.org here.
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.
- Practical revision techniques you can apply to your entire novel manuscript.
- Confidence in the structure of your novel.
- The ability to discern whether or not your book “is working.”
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Each class will begin with a craft lesson on and a discussion of a specific part of a working manuscript. Over the course of this class, students will read Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles, which we will use to contextualize our findings (chapter assignments will be assigned based on that week's discussion topics). The second half of each class will be a proctored work session. People can ask me questions about their own work; those who are inclined to chime in can, while others can choose to work on revising their manuscripts.
At the end of the course, participants will submit one of the six sections they have reworked to me for an additional edit. This class is not a workshop, and students will not be providing detailed feedback on each other's novels. The submitted section should be no more than 15k words.
Week 1: The Start
Week 2: The First Turn
Week 3: The Plateau
Week 4: The Second Turn
Week 5: The Climax
Week 6: The Resolution
*each week’s discussion will be based on a reading assignment from Song of Achilles
Emma Brodie is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and packager. As an editor, she’s published authors including Awkwafina, Anna Drezen, Nathan W. Pyle, Marlee Grace, Deborah Hanekamp, and Emma Gray. Currently an Executive Editor at Little, Brown, Emma acquires a variety of illustrated non-fiction and products for the Voracious imprint. Her debut novel, Songs in Ursa Major, is due out from Knopf in 2021.
"I learned infinitely more about querying in those two hours than I had in months spent Googling the subject. Prior to last night, my query letters felt a little like disheartening stabs in the dark, but Emma's tips made so much sense—and made me realize all the things I was doing wrong. Now I'm actually excited to start querying again!"
"The Art of the Query as extremely helpful, perhaps one of the best events I've seen at the Wing."
""I attended The Art of the Query with a few fellow Wing writers and we LOVED it! It was quick, VERY informative, and super helpful! We all came out of the event ready to sharpen our pencils and get started to writing query letters. It incorporated a quick, simple presentation that went deep and provided insider info that I could never find online. When I say it went deep, I typed up 15 pages of notes! I'd love to shout out to Emma Brodie for leading it—she was fabulous!!"
"I will be forever indebted to my brilliant editor Emma Brodie who took a lot of unbridled passion for the former Soviet Union and shaped it into a narrative. This book would not have been possible without her generous guidance, patience, kindness, and vision, and throughout the process she has been a snake charmer, coaxing out the best that I am capable of."
"Emma took a google doc filled with run on sentences and vague ideas and sculpted them into a real book that makes sense. She is the grit behind my softness."
"Emma Brodie is the dopest editor in town. Without her, this book would be an incoherent rambling with nonsensical bullets and distasteful jokes about Monica Lewinsky."