Architecture and Editing – They Have More in Common Than You Think!

Last April I had the extreme pleasure of taking Karen Albright Lin‘s Self Editing course at the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference.

Karen Albright Lin

Build your book like you build a house - from the base up.

Her “builder’s approach” to editing – working from the ground up, building a strong foundation before adding in fancy frills and finishing touches really resonated with me. All the same, I wanted to know how she could look past extra commas, bad grammar and choppy sentences to see those bigger issues. I can dive into one of my manuscripts with the best of intentions, aiming to focus only on plot, or flow, or character consistency, but two pages in I’m busy scribbling out commas, adding a power word here, deleting a blah word there and getting completely lost in the minutia.

That year Karen’s class was only an hour long, and while I felt like I learned a lot from it (As evidenced by my 5 and a half pages of notes – most presenters that year got one page or less) I wanted more. Lots more.

I wanted to delve into character arcs. I wanted tools to help me see the bigger picture. I wanted to dive into pacing, character development, plots and subplots – How do you keep that key subplot from overshadowing the long plot? I wanted to talk inciting incident and scene craft. I wanted to pull Karen aside and beg her to look at MY manuscript. I wanted her to workshop it with me and talk it over with me and hold my hand while I asked her all the millions of questions her excellent presentation brought rushing to the front of my brain and the tip of my tongue.

Alas, it was not to be. Class was over and off we all rushed to the next lecture.

telling tales in the tipi

Perfect Inspiration for Story Telling

But I am a resourceful and cunning woman. And so, slowly and quietly I devised a plan. I bought a tipi. Yes, a real tipi. And I set it up in my yard. And I used it to write and read and relax and I infused it with cosy, comfy, inspiring energy. And then, during these long, dark, frozen winter days I hatched my plan.

I called it “Telling Tales in the Tipi: A Summer Writing Workshop Series.”

I asked Karen if she would be willing to come to my writing tipi and teach her editing wisdom to a handful of serious writers. Writers on the very brink of greatness. Writers who needed just a small nudge of encouragement and craft to get over that hump. Writers who were ready to take the next step and were looking for some extra tools for their toolbox.

This wasn’t going to be just a one hour wham-bam thank you ma’am class either. Oh, no. I wanted to dive in deep with Karen. I wanted my participants to be able to bring in their manuscript and workshop it with her. I wanted to see this architectural approach to editing take someone’s story from blah to bling! I wanted to see Karen’s acclaimed editing style in action.

She accepted the invitation!

On Saturday, April 14th – Karen Albright Lin will be in my tipi from 10am-1:00pm offering her hands on Self-Editing from the Base Up – An Architectural Approach to Editing workshop.

Six lucky participants will get THREE full hours with Karen, including a chance to learn her “builder’s approach” style of editing and workshop some of their own pages with her. At 1pm Think Banned Thoughts will provide lunch and participants will have the opportunity to talk with Karen about their own projects and writing goals in a casual setting. The afternoon will be spent in private writing or editing time in the tipi or garden. I’ll be on hand to help with any tricky questions, tough plot problems, character flaws, and other writing struggles.

This course is open for registration right now and is the perfect precursor to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference taking place April 19th – April 22nd in Colorado Springs.


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