Speaking

Novel Revision Retreats

Retreat Recommended by
Kirby Larson, 2007 Newbery Honor Winner

” I didn’t know anything about revising until I took Darcy’s Novel Revision Retreat. I finally ‘got it’ that reworking a manuscript is not revising. To revise something means to re-vision it, to see it through a new lens. The workshop and the Novel Metamorphosis workbook moved me from wordsmith to novel writer.”

Kirby Larson (www.kirbylarson.com), author of Hattie Big Sky, winner of the 2007 Newbery Honor Book Award (the highest award given to children’s novels by the American Library Association). Kirby had been writing for nearly 20 years and had published four chapter books and a picture book before writing, and revising, Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte). This story sold in ten-days-flat to the first editor who saw it.

Retreat Recommended by
Barbara Seuling, Author and Writing Teacher

“I found many books useful, but I found your NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS absolutely the best for a workshop. For the first time in 18 years of doing The Manuscript Workshop in Vermont, I offered one this year for novels – for those who had a first draft or more that needed revision. The most interesting session was the one where we dealt with the Shrunken Manuscript, and we were all really impressed about how much we learned from this hands on activity.”
Barbara Seuling, Director
The Manuscript Workshop in Vermont www.barbaraseuling.com

The Novel Revision Retreat

After twelve years as the conference director for the Arkansas SCBWI, I realized that the hardest thing to get help with is a novel. Most conferences are one-day events in which many different topics are covered briefly. Yet, year after year, someone would hold out a novel and ask, “What do you think of this?” Finally, there is a format in which this question can be answered!

The Goal of the Novel Revision Retreat: Every author will go home with strategies for revising their own particular novel.

The retreat is designed for maximum participation and advance preparation is required.

I Believe in Your Story
SPEAKER, TEACHER and AUTHOR, DARCY PATTISON

In 1999, speaker, teacher and author Darcy Pattison created the Novel Revision Retreat to meet the needs of struggling novelists. Since then, her passionate teaching has motivated writers nationwide as she encouraged them, “I believe in your story.”

  • Teaching. Her teaching has taken to events around the nation: Hawaii, California, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, and many other places.
  • Blog. Her blog, Fiction Notes, which gives writing tips and discusses writing techniques, receives over 150,000 visitors per year.

DEBUT NOVELISTS Talk about the Novel Revision Retreat
Crystal Chan

Crystal Chan

Crystal Chan's debut novel will be released in late January, 2014.

Crystal Chan’s debut novel will be released in late January, 2014.


“Darcy’s novel revision workshop was a game-changer. I went into the weekend a complete neophyte, and through her firm yet compassionate teaching, I learned how to evaluate my work-in-progress, from the individual sentences to the story arc as a whole. We spent tons of time on themes, resonance, conflict, imagery – I have numerous writing books on my shelf at home, but this workshop took my writing to a whole new level. In fact, after the workshop, I decided to start over with a new story, applied the advice and teaching from Darcy’s workshop, and with that new story I landed my agent! I hope that anyone who takes their writing seriously will also seriously consider attending Darcy’s workshop. It’s just that important.” — Crystal Chan

Darcy Pattison’s shrunken manuscript technique for analyzing the overall flow and pacing of my novel was the single most helpful tip I have ever picked up at a workshop. Highly recommended!

–Carole Estby Dagg

The Year We Were Famous
Would you walk over four thousand miles to save your family’s home?
Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 4, 2011


My initial reaction after finishing a first draft is to ask myself “Now What?” That question is answered and then some in Darcy’s novel revision retreats (I’ve done two so far). The large group sessions where Darcy discusses things like character, plot, setting and word choice help you wrap your brain around where your novel needs work. The break-out sessions with your critique group help you apply Darcy’s revision principles to your specific story. In the end, you walk away with a clear picture of how to take your novel apart and put it back together in a way that will make it a much stronger story. Hanging out with Darcy and other writers who are in your shoes is a big bonus too!

–Christina Mandelski

THE SWEETEST THING, Egmont USA, May 2011
www.christinamandelski.com
www.willwrite4cake.blogspot.com



Darcy gets you to see through your own words to find the heart and bones of
your story, then gives you strategies that help you cut the fat away from that heart and keep it singing while you rearrange the bones and sinew to make the structure strong.

— Sue Cowing

YOU WILL CALL ME DROG, Carolrhoda, September 2011.
A debut middle-grade novel and a cleverly framed story of self-determination and family relationships. Fresh, funny, unexpected and, at times, just a little dark.
Carolrhoda Books, September, 2011



I revised a manuscript for an editor at Scholastic before it was accepted. His offer letter said, “The ability to have such insight about one’s own work is as rare as the talent to generate a fun and meaningful story.” Darcy Pattison taught me how to look at my own work with a powerful set of tools for considering voice, structure, action, sensory detail, and more.

It always feels magical to make a story better, but it’s not magic. It’s a matter of understanding and using the tools we writers have. Darcy built the toolbox for us with her blog, her workshops, and her book, Novel Metamorphosis. We still have to do the heavy lifting, but we’re not doing it alone.

— Martha Brockenbrough

2012: 10 Commandments for the Dead (Arthur Levine, Scholastic)

Martha Brockenbrough
http://marthabrockenbrough.com


Darcy Pattison’s shrunken manuscript technique pushed me to see my book in its entirety — what was working and what needed to change. On the micro level, I appreciated Darcy’s emphasis on imagery and the senses — particularly taste, touch, and smell — which bring to a story texture and depth.

2012: MAY B. (Schwartz and Wade/Random House Children’s Books)
Caroline Starr Rose
www.carolinestarrrose.com


A Peek at a Retreat

Typical Retreat Schedule

A typical retreat schedule includes these sessions:

  • Inventory
  • Plotting: Macro to Micro
  • Plotting
  • Writing in Scenes
  • Sensory Details
  • Language
  • Characterization and Dialogue
  • Setting
  • Character & Setting
  • Adding Depth and Layers
  • Making Voice a Conscious Decision
  • Your Plan of Action

Want to Attend a Retreat, but Can’t?

NovelMetamorphosis
Novel Metamorphosis: UnCommon Ways to Revise
is the workbook for the retreat, the next best thing to being there. Order from Amazon.

Speaking at Other Events

Conference, Convention, Reading Council, or Professional Development

Inspirational, thought-provoking, or informational–whatever your needs, I can speak on topics that interest you.
At the National Council of Teachers of English national convention, I spoke about “The Mask of a Novelist.”

At the SCBWI Annual Conference in LA, 2004, I spoke on “Demystifying Voice” and “Novel Revision.”

I speak with librarians and teachers on Writing with Children in professional developments or informal settings. Topics include:

Across the US with Oliver

Cross the United States with Oliver K. Woodman. Geography, letter writing, knock-knock jokes and more.
Oliver loves to visit schools. For more information on having the wooden man visit your school, call Costume Specialists, Mike Howard at 1-800-596-9357, ext 303.

How to Book a Presentation

Email me at darcy at darcypattison dot com with information about your event, including dates and audience. I’ll get back to you within 24 hours to let you know if the dates are open and applicable fees.

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  28. Darcy’s novel revision workshop was a game-changer. I went into the weekend a complete neophyte, and through her firm yet compassionate teaching, I learned how to evaluate my work-in-progress, from the individual sentences to the story arc as a whole. We spent tons of time on themes, resonance, conflict, imagery – I have numerous writing books on my shelf at home, but this workshop took my writing to a whole new level. In fact, after the workshop, I decided to start over with a new story, applied the advice and teaching from Darcy’s workshop, and with that new story I landed my agent! I hope that anyone who takes their writing seriously will also seriously consider attending Darcy’s workshop. It’s just that important.

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