Finesse your Next Draft Retreat with Farzana Doctor

You’ve finally written the last sentence of your manuscript and breathed a sigh of relief.  Now it’s time to edit and revise this first-draft manuscript. How do you go about it when you’ve never learned how? Our Write Now Retreat (Stratford, October 30-Nov 1) can help. We’re excited to have talented instructor Farzana Doctor leading the “Finesse your Next Draft: Editing and Revising your Manuscript for the Marketplace” retreat over the course of three days. Read the Q&A with Farzana below to learn more about the retreat and the process of revising your manuscript.

Writers often cringe when it comes to revision. What is the mindset a writer needs to enter in order to do their best revision?

I think the art of writing is in the rewriting. It’s useful to see a first draft as the basic framing of a house. The revisions and edits are the finishes that make it a home. What if you move the living room over there, or expand the back porch, and cut the front? What if you change the paint colours, flooring, and appliances? Ok, I’ve used up that metaphor now.

Why are these first pages of a manuscript so important when it comes to the editing and revising process? 

Acquisitions editors and agents are busy people. The first pages must grab their attention.

You’ve written a number of books. Does revision get easier each time?

I’ve learned to relax into the process of revision. I’m less overwhelmed by my ugly, imperfect first drafts. I’m currently revising my fourth novel, and working with some feedback from a colleague. It’s kind of exciting to think that I can make a good fifth draft into an even better sixth one.

What’s been the biggest challenge or hardship in your writing career that you’ve overcome?

I experienced a big writer’s block while writing my third novel. I had to dig deep to understand and mindfully sit with my fears. I had to reconnect with my purpose as a writer. That novel required such MAJOR revisions that, at first, I didn’t want to do them. But then I surrendered to the process and wrote a much better book.

What can students in your class expect?

Information. Fun. A supportive and encouraging environment. There will be time for writing, for sharing work, and for self-reflection.

About Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement (which won a Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award), and the recently released All Inclusive. Farzana was named one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now” (2012), and was voted Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Best of Toronto Readers’ Choice Poll. She curates the Brockton Writers Series.

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Do you have any tips or tricks for the revision process?