poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – professional editing

with 4 comments

'a writers' retreat' Jane Tims, November 29, 2012

‘a writers’ retreat’
Jane Tims, November 29, 2012


Remember my first novel? – ‘Saving the Landing Church’ aka ‘Open to the Skies’. The book is the story of how a woman tries to preserve an abandoned church with unexpected consequences for herself and for the community. The setting of the novel is a writers’ retreat in rural New Brunswick.


I began the book three years ago and worked on it, on and off, for a year. Since then, I have been working on two more novels in the series: ‘Crossing at a Walk’ and ‘Shore to Shore’.


In the last year, I sent ‘Open to the Skies’ to three publishers. Eventually I heard back from each one: ‘interesting but does not meet our publishing needs’.  Disappointing but expected. However I intend to accomplish my goal of getting my novel published!


louvers in the belfry


I decided to take another step and ask a professional editor to look at my novel and offer comments. I hired Lee Thompson of ‘Lee Thompson Editing +’ ( ) to read my book and comment. I knew Lee from his role as Executive Director with the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation and took him up on one of the editing specials he occasionally offers. Lee read my novel and provided me with chapter-by-chapter notes about dialogue, plot pace and voice. He helped me most by pointing out areas where he felt characters were not contributing enough to the story.


The following is my commentary on Lee’s editing services:

One of the hardest aspects of writing is overcoming subjectivity. Hiring Lee to read and assess my novel helped to overcome this problem since Lee is not only a skilled editor, but is able to provide his comments in a way that encourages a writer’s objectivity. Lee provided a chapter-by-chapter analysis of my novel, including his assessment of what worked, what didn’t and suggestions for improvements. First, I knew by his synopsis that he had read the novel thoroughly and understood what I was trying to achieve. His comments on dialogue, plot pace and voice were specific and not only improved this book but helped me to look at my writing in a new way. Most important, his insightful thoughts on gaps in the story led me to discover story areas and directions that had previously eluded me but waited just below the surface to be discovered. Thanks to Lee I am now in the last stages of a final draft and almost ready to submit the novel to some of the publishers he suggested. I have realized that obtaining the services of a professional editor is one of the most important steps a writer can take – Lee’s confidence and skill made this part of the process painless and productive!


I am realising that writing a novel is a story of its own, consisting of many parts, each with its own consequences:


  1. First ideas about story and plot – a place to begin
  2. First Draft – the novel takes shape
  3. Second Draft – revision
  4. Third Draft and so on – more revision
  5. Beta Reader – someone to cast a reader’s eye on the draft and provide feedback
  6. Professional Editor – someone to cast an editor’s eye on the draft and provide feedback
  7. Publisher – someone to read and reject the novel
  8. Publisher – someone to read and accept the novel for publication
  9. Readers – someone to read the words and discover the story


total words written at end of day


Copyright 2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm

4 Responses

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  1. No reason why it won’t find a home, other than publishing being the difficult world that it is. Best of luck, Jane!

    Liked by 1 person

    Lee D. Thompson

    December 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm

  2. Very interesting progress and yes your post read like a story of your writing the novel.
    8. Publisher – someone to read and accept the novel for publication 🙂 Here’s hoping.

    Liked by 1 person


    December 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    • Hi. Just some work on this last draft and then it will be off to three more potential publishers. I’ll keep you posted! Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      December 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm

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