Craft focus: how to edit your novel

Course Dates: 28/05/22 - 29/05/22
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
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.
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
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Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £52.00

Course Code: HW151

Please choose a course date 

Sat-Sun, day, 28 May - 29 May '22

Duration: 2 sessions

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

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.

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...

- Understand the different stages of editing
- Approach manuscript edits with greater confidence
- Edit a section of your manuscript.

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.

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?

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 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.

Elena Lappin

Elena Lappin is a writer and editor. Born in Moscow in 1954, she grew up in Prague and Hamburg, and has lived in Israel, Canada, and the United States before settling in London, UK. She is the author of WHAT LANGUAGE DO I DREAM IN? (a memoir), as well as THE NOSE (a novel) and FOREIGN BRIDES (stories). She has contributed investigative journalism to numerous publications including Granta, Prospect, and The Guardian, and. She is former founding editor of ONE, an imprint of Pushkin Press where she published exceptional debut novelists including Olivia Sudjic and Chigozie Obioma (shortlisted for Man Booker Prize). She is also former podcast host, and international literary scout.

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.