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

July 7 2021 - July 28 2021

$289 – $409


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SWR: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision - Member (LEVEL 1)
2021 Summer Writing Retreat Online Class - Revision. Level 1 (Class Only).
$ 289.00
SWR: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision - Member (LEVEL 2)
2021 Summer Writing Retreat Online Class - Revision. Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation).
$ 349.00
12 available
SWR: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision - Non-member (LEVEL 1)
2021 Summer Writing Retreat Online Class - Revision. Level 1 (Class Only)
$ 349.00
SWR: Layering: A Structured Approach to Revision - Non-member (LEVEL 2)
2021 Summer Writing Retreat Online Class - Revision. Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation)
$ 409.00
19 available

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. 

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.


Chaitali Sen Chaitali Sen is the author of the novel The Pathless Sky and numerous short stories and essays published in EcotoneShenandoahNew England ReviewNew Ohio ReviewColorado ReviewElectric LiteratureLitHubLos Angeles Review of BooksCatapult, and many other publications. Her story, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” received a special mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology. Kirkus Reviews called Sen’s debut novel The Pathless Sky (Europa Editions, 2015) “a searingly vivid portrayal of the depths of human emotions-from the first glow of young love to the deeper strength of middle-aged commitment. A poignant and sophisticated work couched in lyrical, effervescent prose.” The novel was a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best First Fiction, and included on Idra Novey’s Buzzfeed list “10 Books That Challenge Our Political Landscape by Inventing New Ones,” Library Journal’s “Top Fall Indie Fiction,” and Mic.com’s “25 Essential Reads to Make Women’s History Last Longer than a Month.” She lives in Austin, Texas.

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email wlt@writersleague.org with a copy of the form as well. We are working out of our office at this time.

Class & Event Registration Policy

Once a purchase has been made, registrations are not refundable and cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a registration and then find you cannot attend the class or event, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at wlt@writersleague.org and let us know the name and contact information for the person who will be using the registration so that we can update the class or event roster.

Credit Card Transaction Handling Fee Policy

All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. If you’d prefer to pay by check for membership, a class, or an event, you can use the provided forms on the membership or event pages and mail to: WLT, P.O. Box 14355, Austin, TX, 78704.


Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven’t taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to email WLT Program Director Sam Babiak at sam@writersleague.org if you’d like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


Once you register for the class, you’ll receive an email with detailed instructions no later than 48 hours before the class date. You should expect 2-2.5 hours of direct teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A (for three hours total). If you need to leave the class early or can’t attend the class on that date, all registrants will have access to the recording for one week after the class date. No microphone or camera required, just an Internet connection capable of streaming video. All online classes are hosted on Zoom. To learn more about how Zoom works, click HERE. 

Plan to log in to the online platform several hours before the class so that you can update your software or any other settings required to access the platform. (Updates usually only take a few minutes, but you don’t want to wait until the beginning of class.) Questions? Email us at wlt@writersleague.org.

Cultural Arts City of Austin

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.

Texas Commission on the Arts

Writers’ League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts – Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to www.arts.texas.gov.

National Endowment for the Arts

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Mid-America Arts Alliance

This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to www.maaa.org.


July 7 2021
July 28 2021
$289 – $409
Event Categories:
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Online via Zoom
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