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2017 Summer Writing Workshop - "The Joy of Revision: Editing and Revising Your Manuscript for the Marketplace" with Carol Dawson

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ACC Highland Campus
6101 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78752

8/14/2017 to 8/19/2017

Online registration for the 2017 Summer Writing Workshop is now closed. If you'd like to register, please call our offices at 512-499-8914.


$329 for Members (Please log in for member pricing)
$389 Non-Members

Please read both the credit card handling fee information and the refund policy at the bottom of this page before purchasing a ticket.

"The Joy of Revision" Class Meeting Times:

Monday, August 14: Orientation, 6pm
Tuesday through Saturday, August 15-19: 10:00am to 4pm (one hour break for lunch)


Just when you think you've finally reached the finish line with your first-draft manuscript, typed The End, slumped backwards in your chair, and expelled a triumphant sigh, the realization strikes that those two seemingly final words actually signal the end of one process and the beginning of the next. It's time to edit and revise.

But how do you go about it when you've never learned how?

As you tackle this daunting process, your manuscript's imperfections will dismay you. Its plot problems might appear unfixable; the character development might seem too thin, the broken bones of scenes still unset and lopsided, the dialogue stiff or stuttery. Even the most seasoned and well-published authors often shrink from this phase, for the simple reason that it requires a separate set of skills deployed by a different part of the brain. In fact, most writers spend years, and much agony, learning on their own how to do it.

Editing and revising a manuscript is an exacting and demanding process. Because it’s so very different from, and yet so similar to, the initial creative phase, we often would prefer to skip it completely. This is a mistake. The editing process is crucial to making your book the best it can be. But it can prove fun, and eventually grow so pleasurable and satisfying that you look forward to it, even while you struggle through the first draft of your next book. The key is in knowing what to look for, and how to fast-track your procedures—to actually take joy in cutting and re-shaping.

The instructor says: I also welcome any students who feel stuck partway through their unfinished ms. and can't figure out how to move ahead. We'll have plenty of discussions about such problems, as well as a look at all kinds of plot possibilities (thinking outside the maze), character shifts, new directions, etc. Consider this a five-day "FIX-IT!" session in manuscript progress and repair that includes direct instructor feedback and suggestions for each student's individual narrative. Join the 'fun part' to find out how to jump over seeming dead-ends with creative leaps and revision. 

In this class, the instructor will introduce the basic elements of strong narrative, focusing first on voice and its elements. We’ll talk about what makes voice the most powerful hook of writing, and study both great beginnings and bad ones. We’ll talk about revealing too much, too soon, and sharing too little, too late. We’ll talk about showing rather than telling, and how and why to make it work. We’ll cover line editing, word choice, verbs of all kinds, how to deepen characterization, and how to cut to hone your story further during the polishing stage. Throughout, we'll use sections from students' own work to practice and illustrate these principles of editing. There will also be brief writing exercises.

Students are asked to bring two hard copies of their first chapter to class. Please be prepared to read from it out loud (an essential tool in objectifying and problem-searching your pages).

The instructor will edit the first five pages of the opening chapter of each student's manuscript in after-class hours, to provide students with ongoing editing examples to suit the specific needs of their narrative. On the final day of class, we will have a collective session to go over the edited first three pages, to analyze the ‘before and after,’ and to talk about the differences and how to move forward, applying the revision principles throughout the rest of the manuscript.

This workshop is appropriate for novel writers editing first or later draft manuscripts, nonfiction and memoir writers editing first or later draft manuscripts, and writers wanting to learn more about the editing and revision process.


About the Instructor

"Carol's obvious talent and experience in writing and being published make this class worth taking...Not only is she good at editing; she can translate that ability to teach others. I'd take another class by her in a minute."
--2016 Writers' League of Texas Class Attendee

"Carol Dawson is absolutely wonderful. I came away with a new confidence about my work."
--2014 Summer Writing Workshop Attendee

Carol Dawson is both a novelist and nonfiction author whose books include the novels The Waking Spell, Body of Knowledge, Meeting the Minotaur, and The Mother-in-Law Diaries, all published by Algonquin Books, Simon and Schuster, Viking-Penguin, and translated overseas into several languages. Her award-winning non-fiction book House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias was published by the University of Texas Press. She has taught creative writing and literature at the College of Santa Fe, as well as in numerous workshops. In addition, her work has been published in magazines and journals, including Texas Monthly, Southern Living, The Oxford-American, Parenting Magazine, etc. Currently she is working on two historical novels. Her latest non-fiction book, Miles and Miles of Texas: The Story of the Texas Highway Department, 1917-2017, published in Fall of 2016 by Texas A&M University Press, ranked Number 4 on the Amazon Best Seller List in its category.


(Note: All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee - this fee can be avoided by mailing in a check for registration with a form. Click HERE for the form to mail with your check.)


(Please read this refund policy closely before registering for the 2017 Summer Writing Workshop; no exceptions will be made):

Through May 15, 2017: 100% refund available.
May 16 - June 23, 2017: 50% refund available.

All cancellations will incur a $50 cancellation fee.

After June 23, 2017: No refunds will be made, but registrants can transfer their registration to another person as long as advance notice is given to the Writers' League of Texas. If you wish to transfer your registration, please call the WLT at 512-499-8914.