Craft focus: how to edit your novel
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
What is the course about?
This course is about helping your novel find the best version of itself. You may be interested in working with a professional editor, or connecting directly with a readership, or you may simply want to understand how to apply a critical eye to your own creation. This course will help you understand the different types of edit available to writers, and enable you to apply and practice a key skill from each essential editorial stage to your own work.
Please note - this course includes a 2 hour lunch break.
This course will focus on the editing process exclusively. It will not cover self-publishing, or submitting work to agents and professional editors.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- What is editing? Purpose, stages, and key approaches.
- Stage one: structural edit.
- Stage two: line editing.
- Stage three: copy editing and proofreading.
- How to find a professional freelance editor.
- Working with a professional editor: what to expect.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand the essential elements of the professional editing process.
- Use key techniques in each of the editorial phases to edit your own work.
- Develop strategies to apply the techniques you learn to the rest of your writing.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an intermediate to advanced level course. Students should have attended an introductory creative writing course or higher at City Lit and have completed a draft of a novel. You will need to be open to sharing and critiquing your own work, and fluent in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mix of editing exercises, group work, pair work, class discussion around edited samples and formal instruction from the tutor.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs. You will need to bring the following to class:
- The first chapter of your novel project to use for editing practice.
- 1-page outline of your novel project.
- Writing materials.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
If you would like to continue developing your editing skills you can enrol in the longer course Editing your manuscript: from first draft to final proof. If you are ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback, you may also consider enrolling in one of our Advanced Fiction Writing Workshops or Creative-nonfiction. Collect the remainder of our Craft focus courses, on elements such as character, plot, setting, and point of view to give your prose further focused attention.
You may also be interested in the following professional development courses:
- Create your author platform online
- How to write a novel synopsis
- Approaching an agent
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Sarah Leipciger’s debut novel, The Mountain Can Wait, was published in 2015 with Tinder Press in the UK and Little, Brown in the US. She has had short stories shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize and the Asham Award, and is a past winner of THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. She has also written non-fiction for The Guardian and The Toronto Star. She has facilitated workshops at several literature events, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and has been teaching fiction and life writing to young people and adults in prisons since 2003; she is currently the Creative Writing tutor at HMP Brixton in London. Her second novel, Coming Up for Air, will be published in February 2020 with Doubleday UK and House of Anansi Press in Canada. Doubleday UK has also procured her third novel, with a release date TBA. She is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.