Revising and Reshaping Your Novel or Chapter Book
September-November 2016

Dates: September 21, September 28, October 5, October 19, November 2, November 9, November 16, November 30. These are all Wednesdays. Sessions start at 8 pm Eastern time.

Workshop fee: $129; special "preview" price for 8 sessions. Registration is now closed.

Free "sample" of first session: Reading Like an Editor--video recording

Limited to 50 participants.

Are you revising a novel or chapter book, or planning to get started on revising one soon? Do you want to learn a variety of techniques to help you find problems and create new material? Then join us for this preview presentation of our new 8-part webinar series.

Based on what we have developed for our Revision Retreat at the Highlights Foundations and for workshops at the LA SCBWI conference and elsewhere, this online course will teach you proven revision techniques and tools. But you don't just get a presentation of working methods. We will help you try them out. We will place those techniques in a framework to help you feel confident when you need to choose, adapt, or even make your own.

There's more to revision than finding problems, of course. What do you do once you've done that? That's why we also teach techniques to create new scenes, to explore characters, settings, voice, pacing and progression, and to tinker with the overall story and emotional arc.

What to expect:

What not to expect:
  • One single tool that will solve all of your revision problems.

  • Special "access" to editors or agents--which can be distracting or anxiety-provoking.

  • Door prizes, giveaways, gimmicks, or surprises. We want you to join us for the content and insights we provide.

  • Hype or a hard sell.

In this class, we focus on the craft. We give you revision tools (that you can mold and shape to fit your story's needs) to help you take your story from good to better. Through practice, we show you how to use these tools to become better at self-editing your own work so you can eventually present your best manuscript to an editor or agent. This webinar will help you become more comfortable with revision, giving you a toolbox you could use with any story. Only you can determine when it is time to submit.

We built this class for writers of different experience levels: for beginners, the techniques and approaches will be new; experienced writers will be reminded of techniques they might want to try and challenged to rethink how they approach revision.

Sessions (After the first session, each will open with a look at sample "homework" and answers to questions remaining from the previous session):

September 21 -- Reading Like an Editor--video recording: An introduction to "reader response theory," how it works in comparison to literary analysis, and how to use it in revision.

September 28 -- Getting Feedback from Others: The good and bad magic of critique groups, how to make them work better, plus beta readers and feedback from children.

October 5 -- Revising at the Big Picture Level--1: Holistic techniques, including methods of reading, asking questions, using checklists, and making maps.

October 19 -- Revising at the Big Picture Level--2: Analytic techniques, including outlines, understanding scenes, and different ways to use the "revision grid."

November 2 -- Revising at the Big Picture Level--2: Analytic techniques, including outlines, understanding scenes, and different ways to use the "revision grid."

November 9 -- Rebuilding Setting and Voice: Methods to build out setting organically, to map and imagine new settings, and to find or change a voice.

November 16 -- Putting on a Final Polish: An introduction to line-editing; tools to use in place in of hiring a professional copy-editor, from Wordles to reading backward.

November 30 -- Closing Discussion and Market Questions: A session to answer questions from the practical to the esoteric, and for us to ask you for your feedback.

Tech details: Our "platform" provides a simple interface with a slideshow-style presentation, a small video/audio feed of the presenter, and a text chat "room." It works well on almost all computers and tablets. It also works on cellphones or similar small devices, but we do not recommend using them as the slides will appear very small. Once you register (details below), you will receive an email confirmation, and then on the day before the first session a link to the presentation, with instructions for downloading and setting up the software. We may set up a practice and set-up session before the first session, if there is interest. We will also be recording the sessions (minus the text chat) and making them available to all students for at least two weeks following each session.

Registration is closed On that page, we ask you for some essential information, and provide a space for question and comments. You will receive an automated confirmation of your registration, with a link to Paypal for payment of the $129 class fee, and a link to the webinar. If you can not pay via Paypal, please let us know. We will also confirm receipt of payment as soon as we can, but this must be done by hand, so you may not hear from us until some hours later. Handouts and other communications will be sent to the email address used to register, not the Paypal email address, if they are different. Please be sure you are ready to register and pay; since time is short until the class begins, we are issuing refunds only for cause (for example: serious illness, family emergency).

Questions asked and answered:

If you don't find an answer to your question here, please send it to us at and we will update this list as needed.

I took your "Editing without an Editor" workshop or your Revision Retreat. How much overlap is there? We don't encourage anyone who has been to our retreat or taken that workshop to join us for this webinar. There is overlap. But you would encounter some new material too, so it's up to you--this one could serve as a refresher, and it does concentrate on novels.

Why novels and chapter books? We feel that books with chapters--from chapter books to YA novels--have many similar characteristics, at least when you look at revision techniques that work with them. So we are covering the whole range and distinguishing them from picture books.

Why should I take a "preview"--and why are you calling it that, anyway? We have been talking about doing a webinar on revision methods for novels since our successful webinar series on picture books in the spring of 2015. But we are very busy with other commitments, and the effort to both pull the content into the form it needs to be for a webinar and to publicize it made us keep putting it off. That could have continued indefinitely! We instead decided to challenge ourselves, not worry about the publicity, but get the content together and go for it. We are also running the tech side ourselves, so for both those reasons we are calling this a "preview" like you get in the theater. The content is ready, and we are ready--and we will make good any technical problems. Since it's a preview, we are offering it at a low price, and will not price it this low the next time. We think the question becomes: Why wait any longer, if this is what you want?

Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson teamed up in 2008 to bring something different to aspiring authors. And since then they have created online classes and tutorials and in-person workshops, presenting and working with writers at SCBWI conferences, workshops in western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh, a weekend retreat in central NY, and an annual 4-day retreat at Highlights. More information on our backgrounds.

KBR Home Page | More Workshops