Course Syllabus

The Revision Workshop

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Complete Syllabus

First drafts are fun to write, but great writers know that it's in revision that a piece of writing truly takes shape. Many published writers admit that they are not amazing writers, but excellent revisers, and that makes all the difference. This 5-week workshop will guide you through the steps of effective micro- and macro-revision and the peer review process, and will conclude with advice on how to submit work for publication to newspapers, literary magazines, and other publishers. You will submit one essay of up to 4,000 words for feedback from both your instructor and peers, and will then revise and will share passages of revised work for class comment.

How it works:

Each week provides:

  • written lectures and a selection of readings
  • discussions of assigned readings and other general writing topics with peers and the instructor

Some weeks also include:

  • writing prompts and/or assignments
  • opportunities to submit a full-length essay or essays for instructor and/or peer review (up to 4,000 words)

To create a better classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly to receive instructor feedback on your work.

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Week 1: Why revision is crucial
In this week's lesson, you'll learn why revision is so important. You'll read published authors' advice about revision and watch a video lesson about the necessity of revision. You will submit the essay that you are planning to revise for peer and instructor review and will get immediate feedback so that you can begin your revision journey.

Week 2: Overarching revision
You will reverse-outline your work and learn what to cut, add, and move. Through readings and a video lesson, you'll consider structure and narrative arc. You will have revision tasks and will post about the changes you are making.

Week 3: Paragraph-level revision
In this week's lesson, you'll look at paragraph content and structure. You will be asked a series of questions: Have you set-up your information properly so as to ground your reader? Have you transitioned to and from topics fluidly? Have you provided engaging content to make your audience keep reading? Through readings and a video lesson, you will learn what your paragraphs need in order to be compelling. You will have revision tasks and will post about the changes you are making.

Week 4: Sentence level submission
You will learn that sentence length and structure have a major impact on the reading experience. You'll also look at word choice and learn what mistakes to avoid: word-redundancy, weak verbs, over-use of adverbs and adjectives. You will have revision tasks and will post about the changes you are making.

Week 5: 
You will submit your fully polished piece this week and will learn about submitting to publications that feature creative nonfiction. You'll discuss the dos and don'ts when researching and submitting to publications. You will end the class by submitting your work to a publication.

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Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or contact the Director of Education, Sharla Yates, at yates[at]