University of Iowa

Sandra Scofield

Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels that include Beyond Deserving, a finalist for the National Book Award; a memoir; a book of essays about family titled Mysteries of Love and Grief; and a recent book of stories, Swim: Stories of the Sixties. She has also written two craft books for fiction writers. The Scene Book has helped thousands of writers since 2006. The Last Draft: The Novelist’s Guide to Revision was published in December of 2017 and is based on Sandra’s 20+ years and counting of experience at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sandra is on the faculty of the low-residency Solstice M.F.A. Program at Pine Manor College. She is also an avid painter and a besotted grandmother.

Instructor Events

Agency is the word for a character’s central role in pushing a story forward. Often a first draft traps us in a story with characters who are victims, who are passive, or who just can’t figure out what to do next. But responsibility for one’s own fate is a big part of making a character memorable. How do you assess your protagonist’s agency, especially if your character is in trouble?

This workshop assumes that you have been developing your novel for a while. You may have a draft or an outline completed. Either way, you should have an overview of the story and several chapters that you are ready to revise. The goal of the week is to develop an understanding of revision strategies, and to practice, with feedback.

If you are writing, want to write, or have drafted a novel, you are thinking of All Those Pages. But the secret to a novel that flies is a novel you can talk about, a novel that can be compressed to the gem it is. Learn how to capture the essence of a story in a few clear sentences; further, analyze it as a scheme of component parts. That’s your way into revising, and it’s your way into telling someone they really should read it. Then write a summary that is your play-book.