Working with an Editor

In his own development as a writer, the most significant contribution to Chris's own personal development has been the experience of working with a sympathetic editor in revising his own writing. In "Working with an Editor," Chris will replicate this experience for young writers. He will work with them one-on-one through the revision process just as a professional novelist would with an editor.

By being guided through the careful revision of their own work, the young writers will be able to immediately apply the lessons of revision learned in a meaningful context. Writers are enabled to take their writing to the next level, adding greater depth and further refinements to their own work.

As an author, Chris spends far more time on revision than he does in any other aspect of the writing process. The process of revision is often misunderstood. It is commonly confused with proofreading (checking for spelling and grammatical errors). Also, young writers often resist the need for revision, seeing their writing as, "perfect the way it is." Chris actually enjoys the process of revision, for it allows him to creatively re-examine and improve what he has already written. Through "Working with an Editor," young writers will have a very different view of the importance of revision in the writing process.

The structure of "Working with an Editor," would look like this:

Week 1: Students would spend one session with Chris face-to-face as described above in the "One Session Writing Workshop."

Week 3: Students would be given a two week time period to draft a story not exceeding five hundred words. The students would have a specific deadline to work to. The story would be emailed to Chris in an attached document. He would then go over their short story just as an editor from a publishing house would do, providing suggestions both general and specific for the improvement of their story in the areas of plot development and characterization. The story would then be returned to them.

Week 4: The students would have another week to make revisions to their story. Once again, they would have to meet a deadline for sending Chris their revision. He would then complete a second revision and return it to the students. On the second revision, the magnifying glass would come out, and more attention would be paid to word selection, scene descriptions, and the addition of details. Once again, the story would be returned to the student.

Week 5: The students would have one week to complete their final revisions, as well as proofreading for errors in grammar, spelling and formatting. Once the final revisions have been sent to Chris, he would go over the stories once more and make minor corrections.

Short Story Anthology

An essential element of this process is publication. Publishing the stories in a short anthology is key to the success of this process.

Anthology Publishing Options
  1. The completed stories could be sent to a staff member at the school who undertakes the publishing of the story anthology in-house using the technology available to the school. Some schools have had student involvement in this process, incorporating student artwork into the illustration of the stories and the design of the cover. This is the most economically viable and educationally rich option.

  2. A commercial printer can take the stories and produce a short print run of the anthology. Prior to the project, a cost estimate can be made and students would pre-order copies of the anthology at cost. This is the most expensive alternative, although if time and resource constraints are a concern, the most practical.