“Lani is insightful, professional, funny, and seriously knows what she’s talking about.”
– Maya Rozenshein
What Is Revision?
Finishing a book is a huge achievement, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth. There’s no feeling better than wrapping everything up, sending your characters off to their happy-ever-after, and adding the last two words to your manuscript: The End.
But the first draft is only the first step, and there’s still work to be done. Does your conflict work? Do you land your character arcs? Is your heroine too stupid to live? How do you take a fantastic and flawed first draft, and turn it into a finished novel, ready for the world?
StoryWonk’s Revision class will show you how to take your book apart, and put it back together better. Over the course of four packed weeks, Lani will help you understand the basic concepts of novel structure and craft, and how they apply to your book; then, armed with that understanding, she’ll guide you through the process of strengthening, polishing and perfecting your work. This class is not about following a formula, or making your book the same as everyone else’s: it’s about making your novel as strong, as unique, as compelling and as awesome as it can be.
Come to class with:
A finished–or, at least mostly finished–manuscript. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the very first draft, but it needs to be ready for revision, and you need to be excited about working on it!
Leave the class with:
All your prep work done, leaving you ready to fly at your manuscript and turn it into something fantastic.
How It Works
The revision class has three basic components:
Pre-Recorded Video Lectures (all students): Every Wednesday, you’ll receive links to download a video of that week’s lecture, in which Lani will discuss that week’s topic, and provide that week’s assignment. You will also be able to download an audio-only version of the lecture (great for review) and a .pdf of that week’s slides.
Live Q&A (all students): Every Sunday at 2pm EST, Lani will host a live Google Hangout where she will answer questions. Every student will receive an invitation to attend, but if you can’t make it, you can e-mail Lani early (email@example.com) and ask your question, and she’ll read and answer it during the session. Within 24 hours of the end of the session, students will receive an audio download of the discussion. This is a great opportunity to ask story-specific or genre-specific questions.
Private Forum & Personal Feedback (Plus students only): You will have access to a private forum on StoryWonk.com, where Lani and the other Plus students will be hanging out. You can ask questions specific to your story, share your assignments, and get direct feedback from Lani on your assignments and your final synopsis/story structure, which she’ll walk you through in forum posts.
The Revision class itself consists of four pre-recorded lectures, each focusing on a particular area. You will receive links to download the class files on the following schedule:
- Central Narrative Conflict (January 28th, 2015)
Once you know what your central narrative conflict is, you’ll know what’s working in your book… and what isn’t. Also: review of basic structure.
- Cut This, Keep That, Revise the Other Thing (February 4, 2015)
The value of ruthlessness in revision; using basic storytelling principles to decide what stays, what goes, and what gets rewritten.
- Dialogue, Description and Dangers (February 11, 2015)
Understanding basic skillsets in novel writing; identify your weaknesses and enhance your work during revision; pitfalls to look out for.
- Hints, Tips and Techniques (February 18, 2015)
Preparing for revision and editing, setting goals, managing consistency and continuity, beta readers.
All students will receive links to download pre-recorded lecture files (in both video and audio-only format, along with a .pdf of class notes) every Wednesday; do the assignment, gather your questions, and then join Lani every Sunday at 2pm EST for a live video Google Hangout. All students will receive a link to the .mp3 audio file of the Q&A within 24 hours of the end of the hangout.
Each pre-recorded lecture will run about forty-five minutes. The Q&A will be broadcast via a live Google Hangout, and all you need to take part is a computer with a reliable internet connection.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will we learn about copy-editing?
No, the focus of this class is not on grammar, formatting or layout; revision is about the story, not the presentation.
What if I can’t make the live Q&A on Sundays?
Send your questions in to Lani ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll read and answer them during the Q&A, and you’ll receive the audio file within 24 hours.
I write [a specific genre]. Is the Revision class for me?
Yes. The basics of storytelling are the same whether you’re writing frothy romantic comedy or dystopian sci-fi horror. We don’t want to make your book fit a template; we want to help you understand its strengths and weaknesses, and make it the best possible version of itself.