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POLISHING A DIAMOND: The Art of Revision with Janice Deal and Katherine Shonk

December 11, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

POLISHING A DIAMOND: The Art of Revision with Janice Deal and Katherine Shonk

Two experienced fiction writers who have been finishing up first drafts of longer works of fiction will discuss the work that goes into shaping and refining subsequent drafts. This class will focus on two levels of revision.

First, high-level revision:

  • finding connections among themes and refining them;
  • managing time: ensuring scenes are economical, but not too spare, and finding balance between the past, the present, and even the future;
  • creating space for silence, or times when the narrative pauses to give characters and readers time to breathe; and
  • giving the manuscript the “Goldilocks treatment”: is it overstuffed, too spare, or “just right”?

Second, sentence-level revision:

  • establishing a consistent voice;
  • varying word choice;
  • using metaphors; and
  • working on sentence rhythm.

The teaching artists will share drafts from their own and others’ works and encourage participants to bring a piece of writing to revise.

Tuition for the two-hour workshop is $30. Write On members receive a 10% discount. To become a member and save, please click here. To register online for this program, please click the button below. For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457.

Janice Deal is the author of a cycle of linked short stories, Sick Beasts, which explores the fictional town of Ephrem, Illinois. To date, stories from the Ephrem series have won the Cagibi Macaron Prize for Fiction, received second runner-up status for the New Letters Publication Award in Fiction, and appeared or are forthcoming in literary magazines such as Fiction, Harvard Review Online, Catamaran Literary Reader, Zone 3, Emrys Journal, Valparaiso Fiction Review, and Potomac Review. She has received an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award for prose and her story collection, The Decline of Pigeons, was a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and published by Queen’s Ferry Press in 2013. Her completed novel, The Sound of Rabbits, placed as a finalist in the Many Voices Project annual competition, and as a finalist for Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize. The Sound of Rabbits has also received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Landmark Prize for Fiction.

Katherine Shonk is that author of The Red Passport, a collection of stories based on her experience living in Moscow in the mid-1990s, and the novel Happy Now?, which Publisher’s Weekly called “both tear-jerking and laugh-out-loud funny.” Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Best American Short Stories 2001, StoryQuarterly, The Georgia Review, The Moscow Times, The Chicago Tribune, Cicada, and elsewhere. She has received an award and a fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council and her collection was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. She lives in her hometown of Evanston, Illinois with her husband and daughter. She is a co-editor of the anthology We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor and recently finished a draft of a novel about motherhood and immigration in the Trump era, Just So You Know . . .


December 11, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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