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By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at http://eepurl.com/ceSobT
Have you finished writing the first two or three drafts of your novel? Do you want feedback on your manuscript before you start working on your next draft?
I found myself in this situation back in August 2020. I had just completed the third draft of my novel and wanted to know how to improve it. I didn’t belong to a writing group, and I didn’t have beta readers, either. So I looked online for help.
An Online Mentor Was the Answer
A number of institutions offer creative writing courses; however, most of these courses weren’t suited to me, as I was an experienced author who had already published a novel. What I needed was a course offering feedback on the manuscript I had already written. And that course needed to be online because Covid had made in-class learning dangerous.
After a bit of searching, I found the answer: the Online Mentor course offered by the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program. I decided to enroll for Winter 2021.
How Does the Online Mentor Course Work?
The course is email-based. Once the student is enrolled, she or he chooses an online mentor (usually an established Canadian author) from a list. If the mentor agrees to work with the student, the mentor contacts her or him by email; the student then submits some chapters to the mentor; the mentor provides feedback on the student’s writing. Students have up to 12 weeks, including time for rewrites, to work on up to a maximum of 25,000 words of a manuscript, 40 pages of poetry, or 90 pages of a drama or screenplay.
Is This Course Worth Your Time?
It definitely is! My mentor, Marina Endicott, a Canadian novelist and short story writer, provided valuable feedback on my manuscript. With her help, I was able to rethink the characters, cut out unnecessary details, and balance out the plot, which was a bit on the gloomy side. We worked on the first four chapters together; I then completed the rewrite using the insights I got from Marina.
How Do You Enroll?
Apply online at https://learn.utoronto.ca/programs-courses/courses/1686-online-mentor You’ll also need to submit a 10-page excerpt from the manuscript you wish to workshop to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the name of your mentor-of-choice from the list of Creative Writing program instructors.
Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at http://eepurl.com/ceSobT Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/