What makes good writing great? Editing – the willingness to revisit your work, view it afresh and make it better.
This two-day self-editing workshop will help you gain new perspectives on your own writing – your style, language, voice, habits, and foibles – and to better connect you with your voice as a writer.
When we can see how we write, we are better equipped to make our writing as sharp as possible. This comes down to reading and self-editing skills, essential tools that can be deployed, for instance, when you’re creating a new voice for a character or getting a piece ready for submission. These skills also come into play when offering criticism, which we’re often called upon to do for each other as part of a community of writers. You’ll leave this workshop equipped with tools to overcome text blindness, able to examine your style and language, and to offer meaningful commentary on other people’s work. Participants will walk away with an understanding of what’s unique to their writing style, and how to edit themselves with fresh eyes.
My work as a literary translator has taught me is how to “see” the text in a nuanced way, even after multiple drafts, which has been invaluable to developing my language and style as a writer. Using techniques derived from my experience as a translator, writer and magazine editor, we will do close readings of texts and in-class writing and editing exercises that will help us see our own work. On the first day, we’ll focus on writing exercises and close readings of excerpts from books and stories, discussing various elements of style and voice. On the second, we’ll focus more closely on your work, as well as exploring how to receive and offer criticism, which we will put into practice when sharing what we’ve written with the group.
Since I came up with the idea for this workshop, I’ve been collecting writing exercises and tips from translators, writers and editors around the world, including one given to law students that doesn’t involve any writing at all.
This workshop is suitable for all levels of writers and for translators interested in deepening their connection with their style and language. If you’re currently working on a project, there will be an opportunity to take a closer look at it in class if you’re willing to share. If not, there will be plenty of time to generate material!
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Saskia Vogel is from Los Angeles and lives in Berlin, where she works as a writer and Swedish-to-English literary translator. Permission (Dialogue Books/Coach House Books), her debut novel was published in March 2019. Saskia’s translations include books by some of Sweden’s most exciting contemporary voices, such as Lena Andersson, Johannes Anyuru, Karolina Ramqvist, and Lina Wolff. She has written on power and sexuality for publications such as Paris Review Daily, Granta, The White Review, Sight and Sound, and The Offing. Previously, she worked as a writing tutor at the University of Southern California’s Writing Center, Granta magazine’s global publicist, and as a magazine editor at the AVN Media Network, where she reported on adult entertainment.