Editing your manuscript: from first draft to final proof

Course Dates: 16/01/19 - 27/02/19
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Sue Healy

Once your story is on the page, the editing process begins. But where do you start and what skills do you need? This course guides learners through the editing of a story or manuscript, exploring approaches to making line edits, improving narrative structure and everything in between.

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Editing your manuscript: from first draft to final proof


What is the course about?

During the editing process, the writer transforms their work from that raw first draft to a polished piece of literature, making it one of the most rewarding stages of a writing project. This course, ideal for experienced creative writers, is designed to help you fruitfully apply the editing skills you learn to your own work and to the writings of others.

Please note that there will be no class on Wednesday 23 January. To make up for the missed session, this course will now finish a week later on Wednesday 27 February.

The Tutor The Tutor: Writer/playwright Sue Healy has a PhD in modern theatre history and is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre. Her work has been developed by the Abbey and Criterion Theatres. Most recently, Imaginationship (2018) ran at the Finborough and Stephen Joseph in Scarborough, to acclaim. Cow (2017) showed at the Etcetera and Brazen (2016) at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s work has also been performed at the Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She also directs for stage. Sue has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards, BBC Opening Lines and the Escalator Award. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, she also lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth and the University of Lincoln. Sue is from Ireland and spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M.

City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

What will we cover?

- The stages of a work: first draft, manuscript proper, copy-edited/proof-read manuscript.
- Taking care and making correct choices in line-by-line editing.
- Identifying and solving problems: the editor’s eye, and how the writer can learn from it.
- Learning to read one’s own work as dispassionately as someone else’s.
- Editing to improve narrative/structure; editing to improve style.
- The challenge of truly rewriting, where rewriting is necessary.
- How to trim, and how to cut more substantively.
- The virtues of succinctness and omission.
- How to feed back editing opinions to another writer, supportively.
- Editing to improve the marketability of a manuscript.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

How to approach the editing of a manuscript with greater assurance and adeptness.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for experienced creative writers who have a finished story ready to edit.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Formal instruction from the teacher combined with group discussion
- Analysis of short pieces in class through group discussion, and editing of these set as homework.
- Individual short writing exercises set as homework, to be discussed and worked on as the shared property of the class.

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.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a pen and paper.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit runs a range of professional development courses for writers including Approaching an Agent and How to Impress a Publisher. Browse the writing section of our website for further details.

All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Students are also encouraged to submit 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.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


This course has now started

Course Code: HW151

Started Wed, day, 16 Jan - 27 Feb '19

Duration: 6 sessions (over 7 weeks)

Full fee: £119.00
Senior fee: £119.00
Concession: £48.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.