416-435-7372 or 905-985-8389 info@anovelapproach.net

“The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.”
― Pat Schneider (the 4th precept of the AWA Method)

A Novel Approach to Fiction First Draft

(While also sharing the key aspects of craft along the way)

  • You meet biweekly online, face to face, in a small group of authors who are also writing their first drafts.
  • You post up to 3,000 words on a private workshop website every two weeks.
  • You read and share positive feedback with each other on the scenes written.
  • Your instructor reads every posting in detail and posts feedback.
  • In each of the 20 workshops, a vital aspect of the writing craft is addressed
  • At the conclusion of the workshop you will have written 60,000 words (or more) and learned the key skills to writing compelling stories.
  • You will forge long-lasting writing friendships with your fellow participants.


  • The objective is to write & post up to 3000 words in the first week, then read as many of the other participant posts as possible in the second week.
  • CRAFT LESSONS will be posted a week before each class so participants can read them over in advance.
  • The short CRAFT DISCUSSION component at the beginning of each class will be geared towards emphasizing the key aspects of the lesson and responding to any participant questions.
  • (We are always ready to discuss any aspect of craft with participants in one-on-one zoom room chats or telephone feedback sessions at no additional cost.)
  • Our PROMPT-BASED writing segments are long enough for participants to produce up to half of their bi-weekly writing targets in class.

So this is the format we created to give writers the best chance at finishing a long project:

We build a private website for each A NOVEL APPROACH group that contains the necessary features for workshop participants to not only upload a book-length project in a Writing Workshop format, but also permit participants to read and comment on each other’s new chapters.

Each website features:

1. The storage space necessary to hold a large amount of text data. This also provides a back-up copy of the manuscripts and a place for authors to share their work.

2. Separate author files so that participants can have a password-protected area for their work.

3. The capacity for all workshop participants to view each other’s work.

4. The facility to allow participants to make supportive comments.

5. A way to identify who makes the comments.

6. And a guest book so the participants can chat with each other about the craft of writing and each other’s work.

PLEASE NOTE: Although the objective of the workshop is to write 3000 words approximately every two weeks, reviewing and supplying positive critiquing of each other’s work online is a requirement of the workshop. Many friendships have been created in this workshop between writers sharing each other’s inspiration and providing mutual encouragement. Interaction between participants reinforces the key aspects of both writing and storytelling in a symbiotic manner.

Even though the website is ideal as a storage and discussion tool, we emphasize that the face-to-face zoom workshop classes, and in person feedback, are key aspects of the workshop design. And that’s where the biweekly meetings come in. Writers hear each other’s voices, see each other’s faces, and get to know the characters that inhabit each other’s novels or memoirs.

Yes, the objective is to write at least 3000 words every two weeks. The rest of the workshop is a terrific modern support mechanism designed to make WRITING happen. And learning the key aspects of the craft provides advanced skills that enriches each writer’s work and helps energize them to cross the finish line.

Writers in the group share the camaraderie, the frustrations and the elation.

We’ve never been involved with anything as rewarding and creative as A Novel Approach!

A Novel Approach to FICTION First Draft 2024-2025:

(facilitated by James Dewar)


6:30-9:00 pm.

First workshop September 18th, 2024; 20th workshop June 25th, 2025


If you would like to read what our previous participants say about A Novel Approach,