poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – taking a break from the draft

with 12 comments

On Friday of this week, I begin a weekend Maritime Writer’s Workshop with the University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning. I will work with a dozen other writers at revision of our written work under the leadership of Joan Clark.  Joan is an award-winning novelist of both adult and children’s fiction, and I am anxious to find out what she thinks of my work.

I have chosen to submit ten pages of my novel ‘Saving the Landing Church’ to be examined during the weekend.  I will get some good insight into how other writers respond to my writing.  No doubt, I will also discover some aspects of my writing that need improvement.   I hope the other writers will find my work interesting and help me discover some strengths as well as weaknesses.

'Etruscan man'

Sometimes it is difficult for me to hear criticism about my writing, but I have to listen carefully and keep an open mind …

I will also read and comment on the work of the other writers.  This will help me to hone my own editing skills and discover more about what readers like in written work.

Once I have done the workshop and incorporated various comments into the draft,  I will take a three-week break from my novel.  I will put the current (third) draft away.  During that time, I will not read the draft and I will try not to think about it.  Then, after March 4, I will spend a couple of days reading a paper-printout of my novel.  The theory is, it will be new to my brain after the break and I will see, with great clarity, what I certainly should have seen before.


I expect to find:

simple edits (Sadie takes a drive on the car, rather than in the car)

discontinuities in the action (Sadie goes for a hike a week after cracking her ribs)

slip-ups in characterization (Nicola suddenly has blue eyes instead of green)

cases of inverted time (July cames before June)


birches in winter

I may discover that Tom and Sadie are going for a walk and listening to the rustle of the leaves in the birch trees in the dead of winter….


From these observations, I will make some changes and then will come a series of decisions about how to get my novel published.


on the road to novel publication

on the road to novel publication


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 4, 2013 at 7:28 am

12 Responses

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  1. I love your drawing ‘Etruscan Man’ – I think we all feel that way about criticism! Let us know how the workshop goes, I’m sure it will be invaluable 😉


    Gemma Hawdon

    February 6, 2013 at 12:31 am

    • Hi. Thanks for the comment! I am going to try to get the maximum from the weekend. I will let everyone know how it went! Jane


      jane tims

      February 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

  2. Great post, Jane. Very thoughtful, as usual. If I weren’t going to be away for the next two weeks I would have signed up for this workshop, although I’d have been very intimidated because of my extreme inexperience. It’s terrific timing for you. Have a great (i. e., productive and fun) weekend. Jane


    Jane Fritz

    February 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    • Hi Jane. Thanks. You write regularly and your stories for children are great… I’d say you have all the experience needed. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Jane


      jane tims

      February 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

  3. Oh how I love your birch trees! Attending a writer’s workshop with an award-winning novelist sounds like it will be an enriching experience for you – I hope you will come away aware of your strengths as well as any weaknesses. I had a cousin who worked for the movie industry in “continuity.” It was his job to look for discontinuities in the action during filming and editing. So much work goes into telling a story by publishing a book or making a movie.


    Barbara Rodgers

    February 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    • Hi Barbara. Thanks. The process is certainly a long one. I wonder how many drafts it will take to complete my book. I try always to stay to see the credits role after a movie, because I know how many people’s talents are needed to see a movie to completion. Jane


      jane tims

      February 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

  4. I am excited for you and for your writing. And I hope that the workshop is a wonderful tool for you. Good luck and have fun! K


    The Course of Our Seasons

    February 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

    • Hi Kathleen. Thanks! I am really looking forward to the workshop! Jane


      jane tims

      February 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  5. Best wishes in this adventure. Remember too that criticism from others may be helpful or may be hurtful. It can also mask jealousy and lack of maturity about their own writing. I hope with Joan Clark’s mentorship, the whole experience will be a good one for you. I believe in you and your gift of writing. Enjoy your weekend.


    Carol Steel

    February 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

    • Hi Carol. So good to hear from you. I know what you mean. My approach is to take every comment ‘under advisement’, focus in on the passage and consider it carefully. In the end, it is my writing and I have to be comfortable with any change. Thanks for your vote of confidence! Jane


      jane tims

      February 4, 2013 at 11:30 am

      • I am so glad that you have this attitude. After all, in the end, it is your story to tell. Good luck.


        Northern Narratives

        February 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      • Hi. Thanks for the encouragement! Jane


        jane tims

        February 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

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