James Montgomery Jackson

Writing about when "Honesty Isn't Everything"

October 2017: Revision and Self-Editing (an online course in 13 lessons plus homework)

“There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” ~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis


Instructor: James M. (Jim) Jackson -- Hey, that's me!

Maximum Class Size: 25

Prerequisite: To get the most out of the course, you should have at least the first draft of a novel completed.

Price: $60 You can sign-up at the bottom of this page.

Class Description: October, with change in the air, is the perfect time to participate in a month-long workshop that will help you learn to efficiently and productively rewrite your WIP. In this workshop, you’ll learn to start large and work small. Through exercises, you’ll assess whether your WIP’s plot functions as it should. You’ll consider whether you have the right scenes to carry the plot. You’ll learn to evaluate your characters, combine or eliminate bit parts, and present their multi-faceted personalities.

Next, you’ll consider individual scenes to make sure they have depth and are compelling. We’ll address the special rewriting needs of the opening scene and book’s ending. Finally, we’ll explore techniques for polishing your manuscript. While some discussion revolves around mystery-related considerations such as red herrings, this workshop will benefit anyone, regardless of genre, who has completed, but not finalized, their manuscript.

Class Venue: Lessons are presented within a private Yahoo group. Lessons are available in PDF and .rtf formats. Students post homework in the Yahoo group. The instructor will post responses to all homework assignments. After the class is completed, the Yahoo group will be disbanded and all messages permanently erased.

What others have said about the class:

Thanks for offering such wonderful lessons, and for giving everyone a lot of attention and sage advice. I learned so much--I look forward to the chance to take classes with you in the future.

The class re-ignited my interest in my WIP, plus trying to view it objectively. I would certainly take another class like yours again.

This was a wonderful class. Well-organized, full of great specifics, and thought-provoking.

Thank you, Jim. I took this course hoping to be a bit better as a critique partner, but quickly found this was really a “HOW to Write RIGHT or at least to your BEST” course. WOW!

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Latest News

Empty Promises STATUS (5th in the Seamus McCree series): This one takes place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Empty Promises Fourth Draft
Fourth draft started 8/7/17 completed 9/15/17.
Empty Promises Auditory Read Through and Revisions
Auditory read started 9/16/17.

False Bottom STATUS (6th in the Seamus McCree series): Uncle Mike is murdered. Seamus mistakenly thinks being Uncle Mike's executor will be straight forward.

False Bottom First Draft
Back to Boston, and Family, and More Secrets.

Instructor Bio

Jim Jackson spent his career explaining complicated financial strategies in understandable English. He finds rewriting considerably more enjoyable than producing a first draft, and he considers teaching more fun than writing. Despite those preferences he is the successful author of four Seamus McCree Novels and one Novella (with two more novels scheduled for 2018). He is the Immediate Past President of the 700-member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. He has taught this course to rave reviews in 2015 (for the Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA) and in 2016 (for the Low Country Sisters in Crime). Visit his website at http://jamesmjackson.com

Lesson Topics

Date     Topic
October 1      Introductions all around
October 2      First Steps – Read Through
October 4      Point of View Considerations
October 6      Opening Your Novel
October 9      Self-Editing Structure
October 11      Scene by Scene
October 13      Ebb and Flow
October 16      Deepening Characters
October 18      Dialogue
October 20      Making the Details Count
October 23      Scene Pacing
October 25      Closing Your Novel
October 27      Checking the Nits
October 30      Last Thoughts and Stuff I Didn’t Find a Place For

Note: The October 30 lesson will not have a homework assignment!


Purchase Course Here

(Last day for discounted price is September 4, 2017)


Please enter the email address you would like to use for this course. If you leave this blank, I'lll use whatever email address is linked to your PayPal account.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING about the Seamus McCree series

I love Seamus McCree—a savvy PI who tackles the mysteries of life with heart and brains and humor.”
~ Hank Phillipi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark award winner.

“The Seamus McCree series is one to watch!”
~ Steve Hamilton, Edgar winning author, Let it Burn

"Cabin Fever is a recommended pick both for crime and mystery readers who enjoyed the prior Seamus McCree story in Bad Policy and for newcomers such as this reviewer, who encounter Seamus here for the first time.

With its combination of social consciousness, political action, intrigue, and family relationships, Cabin Fever will satisfy any mystery or thriller reader."
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"Seamus McCree is a protagonist that if you're ever a woman running from evil incarnate you want on your side. He's one smart protagonist and James M. Jackson is one fine writer who I compare to William Kent Krueger and Craig Johnson in that he knows how to reel in the reader, turn a phrase and pace a book perfectly that you have to know what's going on and can't stop thinking about it. Highly recommend for thrilling mystery."
~ Verified Kindle Reader review

Last Updated 9/21/2017


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