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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Making Novels Shorter

No Longer Enrolling

  • $65.00 Non-Member
  • $55.00 Member

Class Description

Whether your manuscript is one page or three hundred pages, making your writing more concise is both an important and an elusive skill. The ability to edit a manuscript into a compact, vivid, and effective piece without sacrificing either clarity or an individual voice is something that writers struggle to gain throughout their career. The task is particularly daunting for novel writers: it can be extraordinarily difficult to summon the force of will and the careful attention needed to cut a book-length manuscript effectively—and it can also be an emotional challenge: writers often throw up their hands at the thought of “killing their darlings.”

In this seminar we will discuss the importance of editing novel manuscripts at different levels: the sentence, the paragraph, the scene, the chapter. We will explore ways to identify the main themes of the novel and then to ensure that those themes are retained and strengthened through careful cutting. Using their own work, attendees will learn how to determine when to cut on the micro level and when to eliminate whole pages. During the course of the seminar we will also examine “before and after” drafts from published authors. By the end of the seminar, attendees will have improved their skills as both writers and self-editors—and learned about the crucial connection between those two roles.

Attendees should bring one passage of five to eight pages from the novel they are working on—either the opening or a scene that they feel ought to be shortened.

Part of GrubStreet's Special Topics in the Novel, a group of classes dedicated to exploring different craft elements of novel-writing. For more class offerings, click here.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!