Canada Reads

Cherie Dimaline's best writing advice? Don't throw anything out

The Canada Reads shortlisted author of The Marrow Thieves gives tips for tackling revisions.
Cherie Dimaline is the author of the YA novel The Marrow Thieves. (CBC)

Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018. The YA novel follows a group of Indigenous people from different backgrounds on the run as they are hunted for their marrow, which holds the ability to dream. 

CBC Books asked Dimaline for her best writing tip.

"Don't throw any of your writing away. This is something Lee Maracle said to me. I was working on my novel, The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, and she was looking at it with me and said, 'Okay, this needs to come out' and I agreed. She said, 'When you take those pieces out, save them in a file on your computer. Don't throw them out because I guarantee you there's a reason you wrote them and they will come back out.' I have a collection of short stories called A Gentle Habit that came out after that based entirely on those tangents that were pulled out of The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy."

Cherie Dimaline's comments have been edited and condensed.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.