Winter Craft Intensive: Lillian Li


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Editor's Note

Generative Revision with Lillian Li
Saturday, February 17th
9 AM  – 12 PM PST / 12 – 3 PM EST

“Any story that’s going to be any good is usually going to change.” This simple edict from Alice Munro is surprisingly hard to enforce. We write the first drafts of our stories recklessly, open and malleable to any idea that pops into our heads—sure, why not have house fire—yet paradoxically, the more drafts we produce and the more clearly we begin to see our story, the more attached we grow to what we first put down by accident. We hold on to characters, POV, scenes, and plot, even as these elements no longer serve our larger vision. Revision becomes moving around the same faulty parts, tinkering instead of rebuilding from the ground up; our drafts never approach completion because they can’t quite stray from what’s not working.

This course will introduce you to “generative revision,” which focuses on producing new material in order to inform and shape the old. Instead of circling the same problems in our stories, you will leave them entirely behind and challenge what you’ve taken for granted about the original draft. All students will come into the course having already completed (or nearly completed) a short story, ideally one that they feel stuck on, but remain passionate about. The work you generate by the end of the course won’t necessarily go into the final revision, but all of it will play a crucial role in pointing you toward a finished draft that advances your story’s fundamental truth. Because this class requires coming in with a drafted story and will involve thinking deeply about revision, it is best suited to writers with some previous workshop experience.

This class is best suited for intermediate or advanced writers.

We have one scholarship available for this intensive. Scholarships are conducted through a lottery. If you are interested in submitting your name, please fill out this form.

BIO: Lillian Li is the author of the novel Number One Chinese Restaurant, which was an NPR Best Book of 2018, and longlisted for the Women’s Prize and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Granta, One Story, Bon Appetit, and Travel & Leisure. Originally from the D.C. metro area, she lives in Ann Arbor.