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Revision Retreat 2017 | August 5 – August 9, 2017

Intended for writers wanting to revise a draft of a manuscript and explore proven techniques for self-editing.

In this working retreat, Harold Underdown and editor Eileen Robinson will teach proven techniques for self-editing and revising and help writers try them out on their manuscripts. Mornings will be dedicated to revision techniques and afternoons to optional critique groups, individual meetings, and writing time.

Participants will:

  • Try out a variety of techniques for self-editing, from big picture revision down to line-editing
  • Explore ways to gain objectivity and more focused responses to manuscripts
  • Learn about reader response theory and how to use it to gain insights into a manuscript
  • Discover creative techniques, such as improvising new scenes
  • Take part in model critique groups, if interested
  • Contribute to group discussions and share favorite techniques
  • Meet with an editor for individual consultations

Intended for writers wanting to revise a draft of a manuscript and explore proven techniques for self-editing. Participants will work on their rough or finished draft of a novel, picture book, or narrative nonfiction.

Preliminary Schedule:
Day 1
Appetizers & Dinner.
After dinner: getting acquainted and sharing of “touchstone” books, schedule review.

Day 2
Morning
Two Sides of the Reading Coin: Literary Analysis and Reader Response.
Getting Feedback from Others: Using Critique Groups and Beta Readers.

Afternoon
Individual appointments and goal-setting with Eileen and Harold or individual writing time.
Groups and beta reader pairs may choose to meet and give each other feedback.
A walk before dinner!

Evening
Appetizers & dinner.
After dinner: Writing and recovery time (or groups and beta readers if you have the energy!)

Day 3
Morning
“Big Picture” methods: finding objectivity or responsiveness; plot, character, setting; checklists, outlining,
visual breakdowns and more.
Trying out “Big Picture” methods and discussion.

Afternoon
Writing time!
Groups and beta reader pairs may choose to meet and give each other feedback.
Eileen and Harold are available for impromptu consultations or to sit in on groups as needed.
A walk before dinner!

Evening
Appetizers & dinner.
After dinner: Writing and recovery time (or groups and beta readers if you have the energy!)

Day 4
Morning
“Tight Focus” methods: polishing and tweaking: language and word choice; line and copy-editing your own writing.
Falling Up: Stretch Your Imagination–improvisation and other techniques to generate new material.

Afternoon
Individual appointments and post-retreat planning with Eileen and Harold, or individual writing time.
Groups and beta reader pairs may choose to meet and give each other feedback.
A walk before dinner!

Evening
Appetizers & dinner.
After dinner: Writing and recovery time (or groups and beta readers if you have the energy!)

Day 5
Morning
General wrap-up session, sharing of plans and goals; final creativity exercise.
Eileen and Harold chat about the publishing business and answer your questions.

Afternoon
Lunch and farewell.
Optional tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press.

Faculty blog posts:
Seeing Your Manuscript by Listening
7 Quick Tips for Beginning Writers
How to Start Revising That First Draft
Getting Out of the Slush Pile

Faculty & Special Guests

"Harold and Eileen were very knowledgeable and approachable. They were always willing to answer questions and give feedback as well as to spend time getting to know us. They gave helpful suggestions and the mentoring experience showed me what I needed to work on and what steps to take to do so. They did a great job!"—2016 attendee