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Spot Revision with Mary Helen Stefaniak

May 20, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm CDT


Saturday, May 20, 10am-1pm CST, via Zoom
Instructor: Mary Helen Stefaniak
Nonmember: $100; Member: $85; Student/Vet/Mil $50



How often could someone look up from reading your manuscript and say to the person across the table, “Listen to this!”?

Do you reward the reader with juicy details and interesting word choices to sink their mind into on every single page? In this spot revision class, we will examine our written work and find opportunities to expand, rephrase, and substitute words for attention-grabbing language. We will also discuss ways to make our work fresh and unpredictable and add texture. We are not focusing on small mistakes but on small ways to take our prose to the next level.

To prepare for this class, we will read mentor texts and prepare a page (250 to 300 words) pulled from our own fiction or creative nonfiction to use in practice. In class, we’ll exchange pages and provide suggestions for making our writing more riveting and our word choice more compelling. Then, we’ll assess the comments and apply the techniques learned in class to create a stronger draft. 

This workshop is open to writers of all skill levels with work ready to edit.

In this class, you will: 

  • Gain new editing strategies to pack powerful prose onto each page
  • Give and receive on-the-spot editing suggestions
  • Learn to sift through feedback to keep what’s useful 

Mary Helen Stefaniak’s new novel, The World of Pondside, was released by Blackstone Publishing in April 2022. Booklist has said of the novel—a mystery set in a nursing home—that “Stefaniak infuses an often forbidding environment with joy and dignity in this Agatha Christie-esque cyber caper.” Mary Helen’s first book of nonfiction, The Six-Minute Memoir: Fifty-Five Short Essays on Life, was published by The University of Iowa Press in Fall 2022. The essays are selected from more than 20 years’ worth of monthly columns she wrote for The Iowa Source. Mary Helen Stefaniak is a writer of fiction and essays whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Iowa Review, EPOCH, The Yale Review, AGNIThe Antioch Review, and in several anthologies. You can read more about Mary Helen and her work at https://maryhelenstefaniak.com.


May 20, 2023
10:00 am - 1:00 pm CDT


Mandy Lynn Lara