Week 8: Revising (part 1 of 3): Story-level

“I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” –Vladimir Nabokov


  • This is week 1 of 3 revision weeks. Publishing submissions are due after Week 10’s workshop.
  • Fellows, give yourself extra time for commenting during revision weeks. 
  • Type each student’s chosen pieces and insert your comments/prompting questions, leaving space for them to fill in the gaps and elaborate.
  • The key to revision is specific, measurable tasks from fellow to author.
  • Each author will have room to publish roughly 1000 words.
  • Remember, Deep writing is original, vivid, and fearless.

Today’s goal

  • Revise at the story/piece level by reorganizing, cutting, adding, and/or changing something about the entire piece.

Target exercise ideas

  • Clarify the role of writer (youth) and editor (writing fellow). What are the rights and responsibilities of each person? Decide together and put this into practice for all revision weeks.

  • Discuss what publication means. Why publish? Clarify that published = public, and writers have a say in the process. What’s powerful about publishing under your own name? Under a pseudonym? Deep writing is courageous. What does it mean to be a brave writer? List different ways of being fearless as a writer.

Reading ideas

  • A story organized two ways. A poem with two different kinds of line breaks or written backwards.
  • Here are some great Deep examples:
  • Bring in an incomplete piece of your own writing (but don’t reveal you’re the author until the end of the exercise.) Ask the kids to read and make revision suggestions. If this were your piece, what would you change? Why? Then thank them for their feedback. This shows you’re willing to take the same risk you’re asking your kids to take.

Writing prompt ideas

  • This week, each author is responding to specific, measurable individual revision feedback from writing fellows.
  • Strategy: Split your group in half and work with the same authors for all three revision weeks to ensure consistent feedback.

  • Consider these questions if you’re stuck during feedback:
    • Should/could we get to the tension sooner?
    • Is there too much exposition?
    • Do we need to add in some dialogue?
    • Is there a scene missing that we could develop more?
    • Do we need one more stanza?
    • Should we have more line breaks?
    • Should the last line of our paragraph stand alone?
    • Does the first line of each paragraph draw us in?
    • Are our ideas organized? Do we have strong transitions and a focused closure?
    • Are some parts distracting? Confusing? Boring? Should we omit them or add to them?
    • What happens if we change the point of view?



  • Weeks 8-10 are about intention and clarity. Our goal is for students to use performance to bring to life the story they’re hoping to tell in the most powerful way they can tell it. As Deep authors read, guide them on projection and make sure they are reading with confidence.
  • Say What? In pairs, authors read their pieces aloud to see how they they sound. Annotate any areas that get tricky or cause stumbles, then investigate if changes need to be made.