For writers who have taken at least one previous workshop, this course will explore a variety of revision techniques. Revision is a vital part of writing strong prose, and yet the progression of rough draft to polished piece can often feel mysterious. Receiving feedback, either one-on-one or in a workshop format, offers a way to see the work through a reader’s eyes, but how does one take that illumination and use it to make the story better? And how can one develop their own revision process for times when a workshop critique isn’t available? Together we will experiment with a variety of approaches in order to expand our understanding of how our stories might grow, deepen, and change by writing, rewriting, and rewriting again.
Students can expect generative writing exercises, craft readings, and the opportunity to be workshopped twice. You will come away from the course with tangible techniques for revision, some works-in-progress, and at least one polished story.
- intensive peer and instructor critiques on two fiction submissions
- one private conference with the instructor to discuss your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
- access to a nurturing community of writers and readers
- tangible techniques for revision to apply to your future writing
- exclusive access to our alumni newsletter, a monthly roundup of submission opportunities (prizes, residencies, lit mags, grants, and more), plus a 10% discount on all future classes
- greater familiarity with contemporary masters of literary fiction
- more confidence as a writer, on and off the page!
Week 1: Intros, talk about revision and writing processes, assign writing exercise
Week 2: Character development and backstory, 1st rewrite of writing exercise assignment, workshop #1
Week 3: Examining the clock on your story, 2nd rewrite exercise, workshop #2
Week 4: Brevity and killing your darlings, 3rd rewrite exercise, workshop #3
Week 5: Props and symbols, 4th rewrite exercise, workshop #4
Week 6: Adding, cutting, and extending scenes, final rewrite exercise, workshop #5
Week 7: Identifying and doctoring moments of tension, polish exercise, workshop #6
Week 8: Submitting, queries, agents, publishing advice, final exercise submission for instructor’s feedback
*no class 10/31
Lily Brooks-Dalton is the author of the memoir, Motorcycles I've Loved (Riverhead, 2015), which was an Oregon Book Award finalist, and the novel, Good Morning, Midnight (Random House, 2016). Her shorter works have appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Toast, among others, and she is a recipient of fellowships from The Studios of Key West and The Kerouac Project.
“Lily Brooks-Dalton has changed me as a writer and teacher for the better. She brings with her, to everything she does, an intellect, internal drive, and an open-heartedness towards writing, writers, and readers that we all would be lucky to have near us for as long as we can.”
“Lily is an inquisitive, intentional, and passionate educator. She makes an effort to understand, appreciate, and know her students. By means of thoughtful one-on-one conversations, a diversity of curricula and assignments, and honest classroom management, she meets students where they are—as writers and as individuals—and encourages them to grow.”
“What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”
“Lily Brooks-Dalton is wonderful, fresh on the scene with a big heart, a fierce spirit, a writer’s eye, and a lovely sense of humor.”
“Exquisite… A beautifully written, sparse post-apocalyptic novel that explores memory, loss and identity.”
“GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT is a remarkable and gifted debut novel. Lily Brooks-Dalton is an uncanny chronicler of desolate spaces, whether it's the cold expanse of the universe or the deepest recesses of the human heart."