Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

Your words shine and each line glisten. But you’re still getting rejections!

Pantsers and plotters, at some point you’re going to have to step back from the words, the lines, and even the paragraphs, and look at the big picture issues.

Diving deep into developmental edits is an intense fourteen lecture course for those writers who have finished at least one draft of a novel.

This course is all about seeing your work as an editor, and learning how to analyze what you have on the page, so you can make the big decisions that will take your novel from fine to powerful.

This two-month course is packed full of tips, ideas, and learning opportunities not only aimed at helping writers make their current work in progress shine, but also teaching writers how to make future novels stronger.

Lesson Plan

With a completed draft in hand, writers will work independently or with a partner to hone their big picture editing skills and learn techniques for:

  • Play by genre/category rules and target markets.
  • Look at typical novel structure and where and how your work falls into the norms, and what to do if you’re way off.

How to tackle a first read:

  • Reconcile the  character on your page with the one in your mind.
  • Discover and develop story themes. 
  • Turn plodding plots into powerful plots. Pick pacing, logic and not missing those missed opportunities.
  • Identify killer beginnings and how to up yours to a beginning that deserves a life sentence.
  • Empower those murky middles.
  • Create kick-A.. endings.

How to tackle  the second read:

  • Dive into deep point of view.
  • Find and keep voice and style.
  • Take dialog from stilted to rich.
  • Discover how to share a scene versus tell a scene.

Third read focuses on:

  • Use setting to its best.
  • Use narrative summary and exposition effectively.
  • Polish stories until they shine.

And so much more!

With a plethora of examples, assignments, and Rhay’s–Let’s think about this–we’ll explore, discover, and unlock the mysteries of developmental edits.


Rhay Christou

The two things Rhay Christou loves most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With her MFA in writing from Vermont College, she has had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating she has taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshops on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.



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