He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Revision Genius

Are you stuck on your novel?

Or have you finished it and need help whipping it into shape?

If you want to create not just a regular, ho-hum book, but a book that makes readers:

  • stay up late at night to finish it
  • gush about it on social media
  • push the book on all their friends

Then you should take my seminar, Revision Genius: Self-Editing Your Novel.

Revision Genius is a one-day revision bookcamp on Zoom.

Yes, you read that right. A bookcamp is a bootcamp for books.

We’re going to be doing all sorts of activities:

  • Revision Principles
  • Revision Challenges
  • Answering questions about thorny revision ideas
  • Live editing of a participant’s work
  • Peer Editing
Date: March 18th

Time: 9 a.m. PST – 4 p.m. PST

I have 20 modules I’m going to take writers through that will help them comb through their entire book, improving it step by step.

Basically, you’re going to finish the day with a dozen epiphanies about how to change your book to make readers love it even more.

Now, if you’ve been a writer for a while, you might feel like you’ve seen all the obvious advice, and you’re wondering whether this is going to repeat what you already know.

But it won’t. I guarantee it’ll go beyond the typical advice. Here is a brief list of some of what we’re going to cover:

  • Reverse outlining
  • 5 Strategies for Character Revision
  • How to develop a revision mindset (with exercises!)
  • Isolation Revision Technique
  • How to find Beta Readers/Editors
  • Examination of Metaphors/Sensory elements
  • 9 Questions for Scene Revisions
  • Breadcrumbs Revision Technique

And best of all, you get access to me! I’ll be happy to answer any questions along the way, and you can see how I would edit some pieces in real time.


Meet Your Instructor

Hi, I’m John Matthew Fox, and I help authors write better fiction. Over the last ten years, through courses and editing, I’ve helped hundreds of authors publish their books and even win awards.

My website Bookfox has nearly 1,000 posts to help writers, and I’ve published a nonfiction book, “The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel’s Key Moments” and also a short story collection, “I Will Shout Your Name.”

I’ve been published by the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and won fiction contests at Third Coast and Shenandoah.

Ask me a question?

Bookfox has appeared in:

Common Questions

If you have at least a good chunk of your book written, you will find the advice valuable.

Honestly, it disgusts me that so many seminars are just funnels to get people to buy something more expensive.

I’m not making you sit through a sales pitch. My sole goal is to help you improve your book.

I often work with writers who have never written a book and writers who have two or three under their belt.

Beginning writers say the advice is practical and accessible.

Seasoned writers tell me these are the best craft lectures they’ve ever found.

The seminar is focused on novelists, but if you’re writing a memoir or other story-based nonfiction, you will definitely benefit.

Also, if you’re writing a MG book (middle-grade), this will also help you.

If you’re a picture book writer, this seminar is NOT for you. I’m going to be holding a separate seminar for picture book writers, so hold out for that one.

Yes, the seminar will be recorded, so you can access it later.



“I take a lot of writing courses and read a lot of books on writing (which tend to overlap a lot and repeat the same things), yet so much of the advice and lessons in this course were completely new and valuable to me. The instructor is a natural teacher, explains concepts wonderfully, not just the writing lesson but also the effect it will have on the story, which makes it much more interesting and easier to understand. More courses like this, please!”

Emira Mahmutovic

“This was the most well laid out, easy to understand online course I have ever taken. Thank you.”

Nicky Boyd

“I always enjoy John’s courses because I learn new information. It is not a repeat of many other courses just covering the bases. He always approaches the subject with new ideas and ways of writing that I haven’t heard before. I love it.”

Jane Ruth

“John is a friendly and enthusiastic teacher, with interesting and often surprising examples from life or literature. Once I saw how useful these ideas were, I slowed down to write new or revised scenes for each lesson. A great course — thank you, John — I will use these techniques forever!”

Rose Kleidon

“A perfect course for adding flesh to your characters and turning them into real people, as opposed to shallow or two-dimensional characters. John navigates every little detail for the writer to keep in mind, from minor to complex characters, as well as using characters from well-known books as examples to highlight a specific point. I found the course to be very enlightening and empowering.”

Jayne Caruso

“I love, love, love this course. Every video offered gems to excite and motivate my learning. I now understand why some books bore me tears and others beg me to read them again and again. John’s love of writing, his generosity with information, and the effort he has invested in the course are inspiring.”

Elke Effler