Submission Workshop: A Guest Post by Katey Schultz

“But, is it done?” I often ask myself this question when I’m about to submit a short story or essay for publication. Sure, I’ve spell-checked. Even had a few good writing pals look over the draft. But have I pushed the writing to the edge in the best possible way? Have I surprised myself? Have I revealed something that resonates with the human predicament? The only things that will help me see what’s missing are time and critical distance—two very hard-to-come-by commodities in the writing life. Well, dark chocolate helps, too.
But haven’t you noticed that the draft of a story or essay you just finished often feels like the best thing you’ve ever written? And, two months later, how that same writing feels bland and unformed? One remedy for these highs and lows is what I like to call deep revision. Author Claire Davis is known for giving this precise directive to her students:”Imagine…Now, imagine deeper.” Easier said than done, of course, but with deep revision writers can use what is already on the page as keys to unlock other doors in the narrative.
Another common problem is what my writing friends and I call the nervous itch. You have a decent first or second draft on your hands. You’d like to submit it for publication, but there’s a nervous itch in the back of your brain telling you that something’s not right with the piece. The easy thing to do is send the work out to magazines anyway and hope the editors reading it don’t get the same itch. But chances are if you’re suspicious, they will be too. So, what do you do next? How do you take a piece to the next level when you can’t quite identify what the problem is in the first place? Enter: Submission Workshop.
Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, the mini-lectures and exercises we’ll be doing in this February’s Submission Workshop will help writers improve their manuscripts at both the thematic and line levels. Where does a scene need to open up? What needs to be cut? What can I do at the line level so my descriptive prose isn’t buried? Is it too late for metaphor and, if not, how can I add it in? We’ll map narrative tension, get to the heart of stubborn scenes, and slash and burn unecessary words. We’ll read and discuss a few excerpts by published authors and study them in light of what we learn about deep revision. Then we’ll apply that learning to our own manuscripts, workshopping 1 piece for each participant in the class.
If this sounds exciting (and maybe a little intense), then Submission Workshop is for you. Commit to 4 Tuesdays in the month of February and come away with techniques for a lifetime. Register today at
Katey Schultz grew up in Portland, Oregon and most recently lived in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. She is spending 2010-2012 traveling across the United States as Writer-in-Residence for various arts organizations. Her fiction has received five awards in the past two years, including the Linda Flowers Literary Prize, Press 53 Award for Short Story, and the Greensboro Short Fiction Award. Her short stories have appeared in Fiction Daily, River Styx, The Outlet, Calyx, Cold Flashes Anthology, Flash Fiction Magazine, and more. Her nonfiction has appeared in Oregon Quarterly, The Nature Conservancy Newsletter, and Generations. Since graduating from the Pacific University MFA in Writing program, she has received writing fellowships from Jentel Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Madroño Ranch, and served as Writer-in-Residence for Interlochen Center for the Arts, Weymouth Center, and FishtrapKatey is also editor of TRACHODON, a dinosaur of a little magazine. 
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