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“I had a wonderful editor who would write in the margins of my manuscript, ‘I love this. Now, cut it,’” says Lori Ostlund, co-instructor of this two-day course, by way of offering a definition of Dead Darlings. Part of bold revision, suggested the editor, involves leaving that beautiful and brilliant observation, description, or section of dialogue on the cutting-room floor. 

“Sometimes our darlings end up dead because they did not serve the story or essay,” note Lori and her co-instructor Anne Raeff. “Yet they remain linked in our imaginations to the piece from which they were removed, making it hard to turn them into something new.” 

In this two-day class, each student will bring a Dead Darling—a couple of sentences to one page in length from fiction or nonfiction—to Class 1. As a group, we will read each Darling and help the writer discover new opportunities. This process might include having participants point to their favorite word, line, or image and explain why they like it and what it evokes or asking the author questions about the Darling aimed at excavating the specific emotions, details, and unexplored themes surrounding it. Via a series of writing prompts based on the group discussion, students will revisit their Dead Darlings with fresh eyes. For the Class 2 workshop, class members will submit new work—a short story or scene—inspired by the Dead Darling, the class discussion, and the prompts, and they will receive feedback from the group. There will be two weeks between class meetings to allow ample time for writing.

Participants will leave the class with new work and feedback, as well as strategies for how to grow new work out of Dead Darlings.


About The Writing Salon's Online Zoom Classes

You will be able to participate in live class meetings via Zoom videoconference. To attend classes, you'll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you'd like, whether on your living room couch or in your office. Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about Zoom and your remote class. If you have any questions about remote learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



No Instructor Specified

  1. Live Zoom Meeting: Saturday, October 28, 10:00am-1:00pm
  2. Live Zoom Meeting: Saturday, November 11, 10:00am-1:00pm
  • Lori and Anne were both wonderful and absolute pros. They made sure to give everyone the option of having input into what we wanted to focus on in the curriculum. They also did a great job of making sure every single student felt heard and could receive helpful feedback if they wanted it.

    Kristine M.
  • It was powerful to have the input of two experts, each with their own slant. They led us yet left room for our questions and ideas. They also incorporated writing prompts into the class so we had the opportunity to put into practice what we just learned.

    Ana María C.


Saturday, October 28, 2023 @ 5:00 pm PDT
Saturday, November 11, 2023 @ 9:00 pm PDT
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Lori Ostlund


Online (SF Zoom)
Live Remote Meetings, ZOOM
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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