Revision Strategies for Prose Writers (with Kate Senecal) - ONLINE
The revision process for writers is often billed as a way to "find mistakes and fix them," but in this 8 week course we'll reframe revising as a process of inquiry, a mechanism for prose writers to get at the heart of their creative intent, and a urge their work to grow into its best and truest self. During each meeting, writers will learn and practice targeted revision exercises that are geared toward seeing their work with new eyes and supporting them in addressing big picture issues such as structure, plot, characterization, and point of view choices along with sentence level and micro-organizational issues. Between class meetings, writers will receive supplemental craft readings and additional exercises and should plan on 2 -4 hours of work outside class time each week. While writers will be encouraged to brainstorm about their pieces and discuss their experiences working with the revision exercises, there will be no formal feedback offered during class time. However, each participant will receive a one-page professional feedback letter and customized revision plan from the instructor on a piece of writing up to 6,000 words in length by the end of the course. This course is useful for writers who are working in any prose-based discipline who have an early draft of a project and are looking to begin revising. For experienced writers (intermediate or advanced) engaged in revision work. Limited to 10 writers.
WHEN: 8 Weeks: Wednesdays, May 11 - June 29 (6 - 8pm EST)
WHERE: Online, via Zoom video conference
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
KATE SENECAL is the assistant director of Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshop, the former fiction editor of Storychord, a Grub Street writing instructor, and a professor at Umass Amherst. She has received an honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016. She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Kate’s fiction has been published in The Laurel Review, The Foundling Review, and in Storychord.com.
• Support writers in becoming their own best editors
• Reframe the revision process as inquiry based on/rooted in curiosity, not a hunt for mistakes
• Understand when to ask for feedback, how to use it and how to give it
• Understand the basic mechanics of craft in storytelling
• Build community
• Engage in fun prompts and exercises
WEEK ONE: MINDSET & USING FEEDBACK
What is revision? When do I ask for feedback and what do I do with it when I get it? Using thematic purpose as your revision north star. This week we'll discuss mindset, reading like a writer, and the ways in which to ask for and use feedback from peers. We'll also talk about the importance of getting clear on your thematic intentions for a piece.
WEEK TWO: PLOT
We'll review the basics of story arc, talk about generating tension to maintain the reader's interest.
WEEK THREE: POINT OF VIEW
This week we'll talk about the function of the narrator and discuss how to figure out whether the narrator you've chosen is the best storyteller for the job
WEEK FOUR: CHARACTERIZATION
We'll focus on how to portray characters or the real life people you're depicting in your stories in a way that makes them feel vivid and real.
WEEK FIVE: STRUCTURE / BEGINNINGS & ENDINGS
This week we'll think about how our stories navigate time, whether the events described are positioned in the right order, and also discuss things like epistolary devices, chapter/section length and other structural concerns. We'll unpack the best place to start and the best place to end.
WEEK SIX: SCENES & ACTIONS
What makes a scene? This week we'll figure that out and work through strategies to make the real-time "showing" parts of your story riveting and full of tension
WEEK SEVEN: TELLING, DETAILS, SUBTEXT, & SPECIFICITY
This week is all about the stuff in between the action, and the power of description. What do you say overtly and what do you leave out? How can you get the maximum power out of your detail choices?
WEEK EIGHT: SUPREME SENTENCES, VERBS, LINE EDITS, & KNOWING WHEN YOU'RE DONE
We'll talk about end stage revision work, and figuring out when it's finished.
RECEIVING THE ZOOM LINK: For one-day workshops, we send out the link to attend the Zoom session 1 - 2 days before the event, via email. For multi-week workshops, you should receive info and the link about 3 - 5 days before. Please mark your calendars when you first register and look for our emails. If you don't see the email in your inbox on the day before the class, please check your spam and junk mail folders (and search all folders) for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org before contacting us. We have found that very often our emails end up in those folders. This is based on your own email settings, and you can prevent this by adding our email as a contact.
ONLINE SESSIONS happen remotely, via Zoom video conference. All you need is a laptop, computer, or phone with functioning audio and a webcam. Those who RSVP receive directions and a link to "join" the session via email (please see above note about receiving the Zoom link). All online instructors will log on to the video conference a few minutes before the start of the session, so please plan to log on early if you'd like assistance! We'll do everything in our power to help you get comfortable with the Zoom format, though we are not able to offer technical assistance beyond basic Zoom orientation.
REFUND & CREDIT POLICIES AT PVWW
Because of non-refundable fees that we, PVWW, must pay for every transaction that happens, we are not able to give full refunds to those who register then withdraw from a workshop or class. If you withdraw from a workshop ten days or more before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop or class of equal value OR a refund minus 10%. If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive full credit toward another class OR a refund minus 30%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We are not able to offer you credit toward another class or a partial refund, unless in the case of a medical emergency. If we have to cancel a class for any reason, you will receive a full refund, or if you choose, a credit in the amount of your payment, to be used for any future PVWW class. Anyone who does not specify whether they would like a refund or a credit for a cancelled class within 3 months will automatically be refunded. Please contact Joy (email@example.com) for all matters concerning credit and refunds.