Novel Writing: Editing Your Draft

Workshop your novel in-progress

  • sections:
  • Discussions Wednesdays 9-10pm ET, 12 sessions full schedule

This course functions as an online workshop, with the emphasis on sharing your work for review and providing critique for others. Posted lectures address such issues as: putting your characters in trouble, what editors want, how to balance the various plot threads in your novel, and others.

We'll look at big-picture issues like plotting, as well as detailed issues like language and character. You'll share your novel's outline with the class at the outset, so everyone knows where your book is heading, and then go from there. During the week, you can chat or post discussions with the other students about craft issues -- or just to share what a crazy, frustrating, magical experience it is to write. Get experience in peer review that can carry over outside the class, as you network and create ties that just might result in a writers group. On two occasions, the instructor will line-edit several of your paragraphs to show you how a publisher might zero in on your prose.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Listen to, critique, and decide if/how to incorporate what you hear
  • Stick to a dedicated schedule of posting your work
  • Decide what to post and see what portions of your writing you're most tentative about
  • Assist others in making a stronger novel, and how that will help your own work
  • Workshop successfully to build content that connects with a community

By the end of class, you will have:

Workshopped up to 75 pages of your novel and developed patterns to improve your writing.

Erika Mailman is the author of the novels The Witch's Trinity and Woman of Ill Fame. She has also published two nonfiction books about Oakland history and is a columnist for the Montclarion newspaper in Oakland. She has taught creative writing at the University of Arizona, the Tucson Open University, and others.

  • "Erika's example, encouragement, acuity, and good humor inspired every writer in our class and helped keep us focused on our goal. Time and money well spent."

    Bradley Owens

  • "Erika got me motivated to start the novel that had been in my head for years! By the end of the class, I was 150 pages into my book and had the rest outlined."

    Lian Dolan

  • "Erika is amazing! She breaks everything down into bite-sized pieces and makes novel writing much less intimidating."

    Alexa Fitzpatrick

  • "Erika is a dedicated, knowledgeable, fun instructor. She gives solid feedback that really helped me shape my novel."

    Lynn M Braz