How's the Novel Going?

Let’s just ignore the fact that I’ve been working on it since 2004 – granted with a few other projects sprinkled in there – and say that today I think draft #34 is going well!

This winter I undertook a complete restructuring and delved deeper into what makes its main characters tick. I’ve eliminated an overabundance of flashback and reflective material, and there’s less back and forth in points of view.

I’m not usually an outline writer, but at this point I have three outlines guiding the current rewrite.

One, a single page with just a sentence or two about each of six parts, serves as a reminder of the narrative purpose of each part.

Another, a two-page, chapter-by-chapter listing of main events, is a helpful overview reference.

A third, long-form outline is a long messy thing that includes notes about what each chapter will be about, snippets of writing from previous drafts that might be relevant, and thoughts that occur to me as I’m writing one scene that I won’t remember by the time I get where those thoughts will be helpful.

As always with a major rewrite, there has been much new writing, with new writing’s attendant struggles and surprises, as well as much letting go of favourite passages from previous drafts. I’m about half way through Part Four (of six) of the current rewrite. I’m looking forward to getting to the end of Part Six, so I can again read through the whole, to see where the efforts of this winter, spring, and (by then) summer have succeeded and where they have fallen short.

How about you? How’s your novel going? What’s helping you get it where you want it to be?

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Heather on June 11, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Letting go of favourite passages – something I find very hard to do – you're a brave woman!

    Looking forward to reading this when it's published!

  2. Kathy Stinson on June 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    One of my favourite quotes about writing is from J.R. Lowell who says:

    The last thing that a poet learns is how to throw away,
    And how to make you thrill and creep with what he doesn’t say.

    Heather, maybe that will help you let go? To think that's what you're working toward accomplishing by doing so.

    Thanks for the encouragement in the novel. Interest is always encouraging.

    All best with yours.

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