by Kristen Loesch
I consider enrolling in Edit Your Novel in September 2018 to be one of the best writing decisions I have ever made. At the time I first read about the course, in a Cornerstones newsletter in August that year, I was working on an early draft of a historical novel, then dubiously entitled ‘Comrade’. At that time, I believed – given how avid a reader I’d been all my life – I must have some innate knowledge, an instinct, that would guide me in writing a novel. I also believed my first draft was my final draft (oh, bless.) I enrolled on a whim, not yet knowing how much I didn’t know. As it turned out, the course was absolutely invaluable and eye-opening. It showed me how much of a novel is invisible to the reader, the behind-the-scenes work that the writer has done, in terms of plot, structure, character, and much more. If you’re looking for the fastest way to sharpen your editorial skills, to identify the right ‘tools’ for improving your book, and to get to work using them, Edit Your Novel is exactly what you need.
I was part of a highly engaged, lively cohort, and I made two wonderful friends on the course (we now text each other almost daily!). As the course progressed, I made the difficult decision to rewrite my novel from scratch. The tutor, Kathryn, gave me insightful and encouraging feedback along the way, as did my fellow course mates.
Following the end of the course, in spring 2019, I submitted the manuscript to Helen Corner-Bryant for an editorial read. Helen wrote such an incredibly lovely, enthusiastic editorial letter that honestly, sometimes I still go back and read it over! Having completed Edit Your Novel, and having those ‘tools’ on hand, I was able to take on her suggested revisions with confidence. I owe so much of my success to Kathryn, Helen, and Cornerstones overall.
Ultimately, Edit Your Novel left me with the understanding that novel-writing ability is not innate or instinctive; all you need is a willingness to learn. I’m still learning, even now. There’s still plenty I don’t know, but this was the start of that journey.
The Porcelain Doll is forthcoming in February 2022 from Allison & Busby in the UK, to be followed by publication in several other territories. Kristen can be found on social media and contacted via her website.
Kristen Loesch grew up in San Francisco. She holds a BA in History, as well as a Master’s degree in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge. Her debut historical novel, The Porcelain Doll, was shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and longlisted for the Bath Novel Award. After a decade living in Europe, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.