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Summer Writing Retreat: “Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision” with Chaitali Sen

July 7, 2021 - July 28, 2021

$289.00 – $409.00


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Level 1 (Class Only): $289 for Members, $349 for Non-Members

Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): $349 for Members, $409 for Non-Members

This July, join us for our virtual 2021 Summer Writing Retreat featuring three classes on memoir, fiction, and revision. Each class will meet weekly for four weeks, starting the week of July 5.

Our revision class with Chaitali Sen will meet every Wednesday (July 7, 14, 21, 28) from 6:30 PM CDT to 9:30 PM CDT via Zoom. A recording of each class session will be shared with all class registrants the day after – so you won’t miss anything even if you need to skip a session. Class details are below. 

Registration for this class will close at 5:00 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 7. 

Revision can be the most rewarding part of the writing process, but it can also be the most overwhelming. During revision, your manuscript might get worse before it gets better, so how do you go through that without getting stuck in the mess and losing your way entirely?

In this class, we’ll practice a layering approach to revision – learning how to identify the issues and sweeping through your manuscript to address one issue at a time. In this class, students will develop and practice a systematic approach to revising a memoir or fiction draft. We will learn how to achieve distance from our work and write objectively about what it’s trying to say; to identify problems in executing various craft elements such as plot, characterization, setting, and pacing; brainstorm solutions to those problems and a strategic plan of action. This class should get you energized for the hard but exciting work of revising your manuscript.

This class will be a supportive environment to discuss our projects and talk through the revision process. Students will receive independent assignments during the week related to the project they are working to revise, plus there may be some short supplemental suggested reading. We will also celebrate “a-ha” moments and get some other perspectives on revision from writers and editors.

About each session:

Week 1 (July 7): What have you written and what are you trying to say?: The origins of the word revise suggest a process of looking and seeing. From the French réviser ‘look at,’ or Latin revisere ‘look at again,’ revision starts with evaluating what we’ve already put on paper. In this session, we will create some distance from our manuscript and try to look objectively at what has been created. Revision helps you amplify what is working and fix what is not. It’s much easier to identify these issues if you really know what’s on the page.

Week 2 (July 14): Foundational Layers: In this session we will identify issues with what is commonly known as the craft elements – the big foundational building blocks of your story – structure, plot, pacing, character, setting, point-of-view, voice, and theme. This is the first layer that has to be addressed to have a coherent, well-organized manuscript.

Week 3 (July 21): Textural Layers Beyond: The basics, how are you bringing the world of your story to life and creating a lush, immersive experience for the reader? In this session we will make plans for improving the scenic and descriptive layers that help you create a deep and resonant manuscript.

Week 4 (July 28): Mechanics and Loose Ends: In this session we will discuss how we keep track of our changes and the effects of those changes, share progress and frustrations, and anticipate common obstacles and possible solutions. We will also touch on line-editing and proofreading, and address remaining, burning questions.

Take this class if…:

This class is appropriate for writers who have completed a first draft of a project – short or long, fiction or nonfiction.

Preparation for the first day of class: 

There will be no required reading prior to the first day of class. No prep work at all except to get to the end of a first draft and be ready to go!

Registration details:

Choose your registration level:

Level 1 (Class Only) or

Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation)

The difference: Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation) registrations include one 20-minute meeting with Chaitali Sen sometime during the month (via Zoom). If you’d like, you can also share 10 pages of your work for feedback ahead of the meeting.

Featured Presenter(s)

Chaitali Sen is the author of the novel The Pathless Sky and the story collection A New Race of Men from Heaven, chosen by Danielle Evans as the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and one of Kirkus Reviews' 100 Best Fiction Books of 2023. Her stories and essays have been published by American Short Fiction, Boulevard, Catapult, Colorado Review, Ecotone, and many other publications. She holds an MFA from Hunter College - City University of New York, and currently lives in Central Texas.


July 7, 2021
July 28, 2021
$289.00 – $409.00
Event Category:


Online via Zoom