Rewrite Workshops



Taking your manuscript to the next level

So you’ve finished the first draft of your novel or memoir, and your beta-readers have gotten back to you with suggestions for tweaks, but you’re not sure how to tackle the second draft — or maybe you thought your book was finished and have sent it off to agents and publishers only to be soundly rejected.

If this is you — and you live in the Toronto area — we invite you to join CommuterLit‘s next face-to-face rewrite workshop, once-a-week sessions led by editor Nancy Kay Clark. The group will be small to give as much time as possible to individual manuscripts. So there is limited space. Interested? Email Nancy for more details.

Here’s what participants have to say about the workshop:

“I had the opportunity to attend a six-week re-write workshop this past winter with Nancy Kay Clark as leader. It was exactly what I needed to kick start my work in a new direction.

I got to know a  troubled young teacher with a hand obsession a lot better. I first met her a few years ago, but I didn’t really know her very well.  Over the course of six weeks, she opened up to me and I now feel I know more about what makes her tick and how to tell her story. You see, the young teacher is the main character in my story, so it was important that I know as much about her as possible. I don’t  even have a clear ides of what she looks like, but by writing her from the inside out rather than telling her story, I think (hope?) I’ve found a new level. I, at least, find her and her story more interesting.

The same writing perspective, i.e. writing from the inside out, has been  helpful with other characters and is a great new direction for me.

The six-week workshop had plenty of structure and the small group setting was conducive to critical examination and exchange of feed-back. One caveat: I don’t think I’ve ever used my “delete” button so often. Nancy often asked, “Do you really need to say this?”, in reference to some of my best crafted but least relevant paragraphs.

If you are prepared to have a  hard look at your work as part of a re-write, this is the the workshop for you.” — Brian Connelly

“I found Nancy’s rewrite workshop to be exactly what I needed in my writing journey.
As promised, the workshop helped me understand how to tackle edits to help move the
manuscript from a first draft state. I’d highly recommend the workshop for anyone
who has struggled to understand how to revise and edit a manuscript. I gained
insights into what was working or needed revising in my story, while gaining
instruction on writing craft.” — Trish Knox

“If you take this class, be prepared to chop out vast swaths of your prose. Be prepared to rethink your characters into their dreams, and to explore story-world into its dustiest crevice. Be prepared to tighten up pacing. Be prepared to tear apart, rebuild, and rewrite—and ultimately end up with something publishable.” — V.J. Hamilton

“I went into this workshop, knowing something was wrong with my first few chapters; I just couldn’t put my finger on it. We all get so close to our writing; we sometimes can’t see the preverbal forest. It would be apt to nick-name Nancy Kay Clark, the ‘Manuscript Doctor.’ She offers precise diagnosis, yes, but she also provides a myriad of suggestions of how to remedy it. She asks questions of your characters you’ve never dreamed of, or seen on any character analysis questionnaire. In a comfortable setting, drinking peppermint tea, we discussed our novels and planned operations on diseased paragraphs. I went away with a good sense of how to make these chapters the best they can be.

Thanks Doctor Nancy!”

— Joanne Steel Yordanou, author of working titles, “Love & Terror” and “Off the Grid.”  Her CommuterLit short stories can be found here. For more info, visit