Trim the Fat with Richard Thomas

In this two-week workshop, Richard Thomas will teach you how to edit your work like a surgeon—to kill your darlings, trim the fat, and leave only the best bits of the story behind.

Your Instructor: Richard Thomas, author of Transubstantiate; short story writer and editor

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 20 Students

Price: $175

Class Description

Editing your own work is tough.

Editing other people? Sure. But editing yourself? It's painful work. But with the right attitude and tools, in time, you will come to enjoy making your stories the best they can be—killing your darlings, trimming the fat, leaving only the juicy meat.

Getting the story down, that’s always the first goal: Spilling the story onto the page, just getting the scenes written, making sure it is coherent, captivating, and honest. When you are writing the story for the first time, you don’t want to think about editing, you just want to create.

But once you’ve gotten it all down on the page, what next? Where to begin? How do you even know if it’s done? How do you look at the big arcs, the major plotlines, as well as the minor arcs, the secondary story lines, and figure out if they’re working? How do you know where your story is failing you?

It takes years of practice to get accustomed to reading and writing a story (or novel) that works. In time you will recognize the components of a successful piece of fiction, and learn how to shape and mold your words to fit those parameters.

This class will not only show you the pieces you need, but give you the tools to make it happen. Richard is an accomplished writer and editor, having published more than forty stories online and in print, including the Shivers VI anthology (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King and Peter Straub, the Warmed and Bound anthology (Velvet Press), Speedloader (Snubnose Press), Murky Depths, Gargoyle, PANK, Pear Noir!, Word Riot, 3:AM Magazine and Opium.

He knows how to edit like a surgeon. And in this two-week intensive workshop, he'll show you how to wield the scalpel.

What This Class Covers

Each student will submit a story up to 4,000 words. This can be something you've just finished, or a story you think is finished, or a rough work in progress. Then you'll go through two rounds of editing, both from Richard, and from your classmates in peer review groups. Each round of edits will be influenced by the class lectures. 

Lecture 1 - The Big Picture

In this round you edit with a meat cleaver, covering issues like:

  • What is your goal?
  • Narrative hook
  • Conflict
  • Setting—revealing character, depth
  • Plot—making sense, easy to follow
  • Scenes—hooks and cliffhangers
  • Theme
  • Motivation and desire
  • What was the outcome?

Lecture 2 - The Details

In this round you edit with a scalpel, covering issues like:

  • Grammar
  • Formatting
  • Researching your topic—check and re-check
  • Continuity
  • Tense
  • Redundancies
  • Fragments and run-on sentences

Goals Of This Class

  • Gain the tools to edit your work like a pro
  • Learn to view your work with a more critical eye
  • Get your questions about the process answered by someone who has published dozens of stories
  • End the class with a clean, expertly-edited piece of writing
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