The University of Iowa

Talk to Your Draft about Your Draft: A Workshop in Deep Revision in Nonfiction

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020

Do you have a nonfiction manuscript that you know needs revision but you’re not certain exactly how to go about it? This workshop allows you to learn and practice a time-honored strategy used by writers, whereby we “annotate” and remark on the draft as if it were written by someone else. This skill takes practice, but it yields a powerful tonic when we think there is no way out of a manuscript that is giving us fits. This workshop is intended to help any writer who is stuck on what, how, and when to revise a memoir, essay, or creative nonfiction piece. Learning to review and analyze our own work is often guided by the responses of other readers, so throughout the week we will spend our time in manuscript review in which we listen to other writers’ responses to our work, and then engage in our own self-reflection on what the essay or nonfiction draft most needs to take the work into its next stage. Participants can bring either short or long pieces of nonfiction that they know need revision or “re-seeing,” and through our conversation we will learn a more systematic method for revising our prose. Writers of all levels are welcome.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home.