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Making It Shine

The Art and Craft of Revision

A four-week live, interactive workshop taught by Debra Engle, bestselling author, and book/magazine editor.

August 2, 9, 16, 23, 2023

8 to 10 p.m. Eastern (5 to 7 p.m. Pacific)

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“Good writing means good revising.”

—William Strunk, Jr.

It’s the truth about writing that’s often overlooked: Most of the work in writing a finished piece comes after the first draft. Or the second. Or the third. In fact, successful writers know that multiple rounds of revisions are essential to making a blog, a book, or a screenplay shine.

But here’s the thing: The skills, thought process and energy you use for revisions is different than what you brought to the first draft. First drafts often are built on passion, experimentation, and freedom. Revision relies on logic, structure, and finesse. It’s like layering paint on a canvas—with every new brushstroke, you shape your story into an inspired and intentional whole.


The art and craft of revision is so powerful that it instantly sets amateur writers apart from professionals. If you want to be taken seriously, revisions are the secret sauce.

So how do you move into the revision mindset? And how do you actually make revisions? What do you look for? How do you know what to change? What’s missing? What’s expendable? How do you make each paragraph and sentence focused, essential and alive?

In this hands-on workshop, we’ll walk through the fundamentals of revision together. You’ll receive an extensive revision checklist to use as your guide, and we’ll address each step using actual examples to show how to make changes, from minute word changes to massive structural shifts. These principles apply to every writing genre.

The workshop will include live revisions of actual student writing, so please let us know if you’d like Debra to work on one of your pieces during the class.

The Art and Craft of Revision Syllabus

Week 1:

  • Why revisions matter.

  • Becoming your own best editor.

  • Finding the creativity in revising your work.

  • The essential revision checklist.

  • Three questions to keep you on track.

  • The basics of scene, summary and reflection.

Week 2:

  • Structural issues.

  • Revisiting your story arc.

  • Finding the right beginning and end.

  • Sorting out the muddy middle.

  • Developing your themes.

  • Editing for voice and style.

Week 3:

  • Developing your characters and their relationships.

  • Strengthening your settings.

  • Adding more specific details.

  • Improving your dialogue.

  • Amping up the emotion.

  • Getting the pacing right.


Week 4:

  • Creating strong chapter beginnings and endings.

  • Using an economy of words.

  • Finding the perfect, most powerful word (Hint: It’s not an adverb).

  • Trimming the fat from scenes and exposition.

  • Using intentional repetition of words and motifs.

  • Editing out passive words.


Debra Engle is the #1 bestselling author of "The Only Little Prayer You Need" featuring a foreword by the Dalai Lama. In addition, she’s written three other books of nonfiction and a novel and is a two-time winner of the Nautilus Award, honoring better books for a better world. Deb holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and has worked as a book and magazine editor, publisher and mentor for writers worldwide.

$247 for eight hours of instruction


August 2, 9, 16, 23, 2023

8 to 10 PM Eastern (5 to 7 PM Pacific)

Please note: Our classes are designed specifically for live participation, so your attendance is important. If you need to miss a class for any reason, you’ll receive a passcode-protected link to watch the recordings after the course is over.



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