The Year-long Workshop to Write Your Novel or Memoir

Testimonials about Working with James Dewar

In 2019, James did a substantive edit of my YA novel and workshopped my second draft with me. He had a great knack for identifying areas for growth in my manuscript in a positive and productive way (and helped me weed out my addiction to passive voice!). At the end of our session, he even accompanied us on a trip to the Toronto Writer’s Workshop, where our whole group used the pitches he had helped us to develop. Every person was asked to forward our manuscripts to agents, based on our polished pitches. I can’t emphasize enough how amazingly supportive, insightful, knowledgeable and funny James is. He always goes above and beyond.

~Kerry Craven

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the substantive edit  process, but the document James produced (all ten, single spaced, pages) was, in a word, a revelation.  It was detailed, thorough, objective, and, in my opinion, wholly accurate in its conclusions; all the while, managing to be encouraging, thought-provoking, and, well…. exciting!  It was exactly the call to action I needed.  I have gone on to workshop that novel in second draft with James, as well as write the first draft of book number two in my mystery series.

I would not hesitate to recommend James as a substantive editor ( or first & second draft workshop leader).  His professionalism and knowledge are only exceeded by his kindness and genuine enthusiasm for the writing process.  I could not  imagine my writing journey without him somewhere out there, gently, oh, so gently, nudging me along.

~Jan Field

I’ve taken two courses with James Dewar, Second Draft and A Novel Approach. Both experiences exceeded my expectations. The first project I worked on with James was a meandering novel that had taken me over ten years to write. From the outset, James was kind, encouraging and full of thoughtful and practical suggestions which resulted in a much more dramatic and well-structured story. The following year, I took A Novel Approach. The biweekly craft lessons were just the right mix of instruction and creation. They provided a wide variety of useful strategies for improving my skills as a writer. James’ regular feedback was supportive and motivating. I still can’t believe that I finished an entire novel in one year, and I’m going to do it again this year!

~Gail Treasure, Uxbridge

James is a compassionate and lively individual whom I would trust with any of my work… no matter how undeveloped. His guidance on crafting a second draft is facilitated with humour and a sharp sense of the story you may be trying to tell. In particular, his knowledge of how to tease a synopsis and query letter from your work is priceless.

~Rhonda Waterfall,

Author of The Only Thing I Have

I have worked with James for at least a decade. You can walk a long way in this world before you find someone who will believe in you. James will believe in your writing which is no doubt the one essential ingredient.

~Ron Potter

I worked with James in the ANA Second Draft course in 2019. His editing skills guided me to look at my work with renewed eyes and my work improved with the changes. He held me accountable with deadlines, yet was flexible when I need it. His humour was always a breath of fresh air.
Without James’ expertise in the writing process, I would not have been able to complete my novel and synopsis, nor would I have been able to pitch my work to four agents, who have all requested my novel manuscript!
I am very grateful for his help and highly recommend that other authors work with him.

~Stephanie Curry

It was such a pleasure working with James Dewar. I could tell from our first conversation that he would handle my work with care. James prepared a detailed analysis of my story, and a copy of my MS with his comments throughout. He recommended what I needed to do to pull the plot together, which was like receiving a road map for getting my novel where it needed to go. I will be making my agent queries with confidence soon, knowing I have a story to present that is the best that it can be.

~Stephanie Regan

I recently worked with James on the manuscript of my YA novel. He helped me identify some key issues in the pacing of the plot, and also left me with a few questions to ponder as I continue editing. It was definitely worthwhile to have an extra pair of eyes review my work, and to be able to discuss the story with an unbiased person who could offer some helpful feedback.

~Erica Spencer

 


Sue Reynolds and James Dewar are both certified in and affiliates of the AWA (Amherst Writers & Artists) Method of leading workshops.

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