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Guest Blogger Katharina Kolata: Review of Holly Lisle's "How to Revise Your Novel" Course

Hi all! I won't normally be posting two guest posts a week but this one came with an important timeframe attached! Holly's Lisle's revision course, "How to Revise Your Novel," reviewed here today by the lovely Katharina Gerlach, is only available until Saturday, January 9th (for the next few months, at least). I love Holly's website and have sung her praises a few times before, so I've no doubt the course is every bit as good as Katharina says. Enjoy!

Most of the writers I know stall when it comes to revision. Some writers hate it so much that they never touch their first draft again. Some correct a few spelling mistakes, others cut or add description and flesh out a character or two. Everybody agrees that revising your manuscript is necessary but it's hard to find sound advice on how to actually improve your novel. That's why I decided to join Holly Lisle's writing course "How to Revise Your Novel".

By the way, this is not a course about style; it's about improving your story. It is aimed at everybody who wants to tell stories with believable characters in an authentic setting with problems the reader can relate to. So far, I haven't regretted taking it. Holly's lessons are helpful and written in an amusing way. Also, there is a great forum available where many students (and Holly Lisle herself as time allows) actively participate to help others. It's great to have so much support.

Over a span of 22 weeks, Holly Lisle dissects her own revision process to teach her students what can go wrong in a novel. That doesn't mean that my manuscripts contain all the issues she points out. After all, I have nearly ten years of writing experience under my belt and found out a couple of things myself. But, and that's a big one, she manages to break down a daunting task into bite sized lessons that address all the problems you might ever encounter during a revision.

In the first lessons, we learned to define what kind of novel we want to end our revision with. Only with a picture of your finished story in mind, you can turn your manuscript into the novel you want. After that, we dissected our stories scene by scene. We looked for details that need to be fixed and just as thoroughly for details that are perfect the way they are. I was surprised, how much of my story was better than I had thought. It motivates to know that.

Currently, I am working on lesson 6: "Sharpening Your Characters", and I am amazed about the easy methods Holly Lisle came up with to objectively determine if something needs to be fixed or can be left alone. The next lesson will tackle world-building (which is not only an issue for writers of Fantasy or Science Fiction) and then, we'll learn how to fix the problems we found. As a bonus, the final lesson will condense the whole process into a tool that will enable the students to do their next revision in one single reading of the manuscript (which will be invaluable when I have to meet a publisher's deadline again).

There are many Creative Writing courses available but I am sure that this is the most detailed breakdown of the revision process. Also, at USD 47.00 a month for four months (that's $8.55 a lesson) it is very reasonably priced. If you are struggling with revision, Holly Lisle's "How to Revise Your Novel" is a course that can help you.

This post was written by Katharina Gerlach, a writer and triple Mum from Germany.


PJ Hoover said...

Thanks for the awesome link and info! Revisions can be really hard sometimes, can't they!

Roz Morris aka @Roz_Morris . Blog: Nail Your Novel said...

Thanks for the review - I like Holly's work too! I'm struggling through a revision so it all resonates very loudly!

Lily Cate said...

Oooh, I'm going to check that out.
I'm in the middle draft stages. Many notecards have been sacrificed. But I like each draft a little better than the last one, so...progress, at least.

Elana Johnson said...

Cool! I seriously need a class like this. Sometimes I feel like I'm stumbling in a dark room filled with upturned furniture when I'm revising.

Alyssa Kirk said...

What a great class. I checked it out and if you recommend it I'll give it a go. However I tried to sign up but it didn't go through to anywhere. Any ideas how I can sign up? If you do let me know at demonicattractions@gmail.com


Casey Something said...

Hi Alyssa! I'm not sure why it wouldn't work. Hopefully Cat or someone can answer your question. If you do take the course, please let me know how you like it!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Great post Casey! REvisions are tough so every little bit helps!

Casey Something said...

Hey everyone! Holly is pushing the close date out to Monday, so if you're reading this review late and are interested in signing up you have a little more time.

Lisa Nowak said...

Wow, sound great. Maybe I'll look into it the next time it's available.

Christina Farley said...

What a great review! Revisions are tricky and I'm always worried I'm forgetting a component. Thanks