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radical revision

a remote writing Workshop

January 2 - january 23, tuesday evenings

Bring us your darlings, and we’ll cut them up. When we say revision, we don’t mean deleting a comma (and then putting it back, and then deleting it again). We’re talking about the deep dives that can radically reshape your work and ultimately reveal the heart of it.

In this four-week craft-focused intensive, we’ll make daring choices. We’ll upend the stories we thought we wanted to tell, and discover the realer, stranger, vivider versions lurking beneath them. We’ll examine different methods of revision, then try them out on our own work, and discuss the results—it’ll be thrilling! Yes, really, revision can be thrilling. It will also be maddening, because revision is supposed to be push back on us, make demands, wrestle us into choices that aren't easy. All levels and genres welcome ... but, of course, you'll need at least one or two works in progress to revise during the course.

Elephant Rock does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of age, color of skin, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, or anything else. We expect the same from our all of our participants.

what does "intensive" mean?

Revision can feel like a heavy lift. It can feel like a grind. It can leave you panting for breath. But the feeling on the other side, when your sentences begin to take on a life of their own, start to become something greater than what you could have imagined, there’s nothing like it. At the end of the four weeks, you’ll have a trove of techniques to unstick yourself next time you wind up in a rut. And you'll gain solid momentum on or even complete a revision or two.

who should take this course?

Any writer can benefit from this workshop. The exercises will ask you to look at your work in new ways and to alter it dramatically. That’s how the surprises get in. We do ask that you come with a piece of existing writing to work on—rough drafts are absolutely fine. We’ll smash it to bits, then put it back together, then smash it again, until we find its true shape.

how does this remote class work?

For four weeks, we’ll gather via Zoom each Tuesday evening, from 6:00 - 8 PM CT. We’ll enjoy lively discussions of readings and examine specific techniques for radical revision. Then, guided by structured exercises, we'll apply those techniques to transform our own work. Exercises during class time will feed into more expansive weekly assignments. Additional resources include a dedicated Elephant Rock portal for accessing readings and other valuable tools during the duration of the class and beyond, one-on-one interaction with and feedback from course instructors, and a private Facebook community page for ongoing interaction outside of class.

what is the cost?

Tuition is $329, and a non-refundable deposit of $160 via check or PayPal is required to hold your spot. Full payment is due 15 days before the workshop begins.

who are the teachers?

This course is led by Jeannine Ouellette and Sophie Ouellette-Howitz. Jeannine holds an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches writing through the Association of Writers & Writing Program's Writer-to-Writer Program, the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop, and the University of Minnesota. Jeannine is the author of several nonfiction books as well as the children's book Mama Moon and her essays and fiction have appeared widely in magazines and literary journals. Of her work, Joyce Carol Oates has said, "It is simply beautiful; precisely imagined, poetically structured, vivid and compelling." Jeannine is the founder of Elephant Rock; read her full bio here. Sophie Ouellette-Howitz earned her B.A. at Smith College, where she concentrated in the formation of identity through literature. Her literary work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pigeon Pages, Past Ten, and others. Her essay "Study of Bones" was the first-place winner of the 2017 Pigeon Pages Fledgling Prose Contest and is nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. She also works one-on-one with fiction and nonfiction writers to tighten up plot, finesse character development, and improve a manuscript's marketability. She has ghostwritten/shepherded into existence five books, including Three Loves: An Unconventional Love Triangle, an Indie Excellence Award and International Book Awards finalist.

what have others had to say?

A previous participant observed, "Thank you for your incredible energy, sharing of knowledge and craft, hospitality, and grace. I felt blessed to be a part of workshop." Read praise from past participants here, and please don't hesitate to get in touch directly with questions about whether this workshop is right for you!

How Do I Register?

Contact us at elephantrockretreats@gmail.com for instructions on paying via check or PayPal. Inquire soon, and thank you for trusting us with your work! We can’t wait for you to unearth its fullest potential.

course materials

This password-protected page (link coming soon!) includes the course syllabus, reading list, and additional resources for registered participants only.