Do you want to help authors improve their novels? And earn money by doing so professionally?
If so, it sounds like you want to start offering developmental editing services. If that’s the case, I can help.
What is Developmental Editing?
Developmental editing is the first part of the editing process. It comes before the copy-editing stage, in which you focus on the writing at the sentence level, helping the author clean up and tighten their prose. And it definitely comes before the proofreading stage, which is the final polish before publication.
A developmental editor looks at the story as a whole and figures out how it could be told better.
And I’ve created this course to teach you how to do just that.
The Crucial Trait Developmental Editors of Fiction Need
If you’ve been proofreading or copy-editing fiction for a while now, you probably have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good story – and a bad one. Even if you’re not already an editor and are simply an avid reader, you may already have that storytelling instinct. And you’ll certainly have that instinct if you’re a seasoned novelist.
But you don’t know how to translate that intuition – the feeling that something’s not quite right with this story – into useful information for the author. You want to be able to help the author tell the best story possible, but you’re just not sure how to advise them.
You know something’s not quite right … but what is it?
This course will help you move from an instinctual to an intellectual understanding of good storytelling.
And this is what will allow you to take what you know and apply it to novels in progress – it’s what will help you become a good developmental fiction editor, the kind of person who helps authors transform muddled manuscripts into sterling stories.
Who This Course is For
This course could be for you if:
- You’re already working as a copy-editor or proofreader and want to add developmental fiction editing to your skill set
- You’ve studied storytelling and literature from the perspective of a reader or writer and now you want to learn about it from the perspective of an editor
- You’re intimidated by the idea of working with fiction at such a crucial part of the process, but you’re also excited by the prospect
- You’re an avid, analytical reader with a love of literature and you want to learn how to turn your passion into something you can sell
This course probably isn’t for you if you’re not already wildly in love with literature and are curious about how it works. The above traits will all stand you in good stead on your path towards becoming a developmental fiction editor, but more than anything you need to love reading.
Is that you? Then read on to find out how the course works.
How the Developmental Editing Course Works
In this 4-week guided course on developmental editing, I’ll provide you with comprehensive written modules and weekly assignments, which I’ll give you detailed feedback on.
My goal is to teach you the absolute must-knows of good storytelling so you can take what you learn and apply it to manuscripts in progress (a different skill to reading an already-published novel that doesn’t require any more editing).
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Week 1: Introduction & Common Basic Manuscript Issues
- A thorough exploration of what it means to conduct a developmental edit
- Why reading is so important, and how to read analytically
- Why you need to read fast, and how to do so without missing crucial information
Common Basic Manuscript Issues
- The two main ways authors mess up their beginnings
- Stylistic issues authors should avoid
- How to help authors prevent narrative disorientation
- What you need to know to help authors write impactful endings
Assignment: Read the extract provided showing the beginning of a novel. Analyse how effective it is (checklist provided for assistance) and write up a short report.
Week 2: Dealing with Tangled Plots & Saggy Middles
- The difference between plot and story
- Why you need to know the nuances of genre
- How to analyse a three-act plot arc
- How to recognise and make use of the eight basic plots
- How to assess sub-plots
Assignment: Identify the plot points of the last three books you read and which of the eight basic plots they cover. Identify a sub-plot in each (if any) and analyse how it connects to the main narrative.
Week 3: Analysing Character & Conflict
- The main reason novels lack drive
- Why size matters (when it comes to the cast of the novel)
- Not all novels need a villain – here’s why
- Common dialogue problems to look out for
- How to recognise and advise authors when they use clichés
Assignment: Take three of your favourite novels. Describe the main character, their motivations and how they have changed by the end of the book. Describe the main antagonist and how they create conflict for the protagonist.
Week 4: The Common Thread – Meaning & Style
- Why a novel might lack coherence, focus or emotional impact …
- And how to help the author fix this
- Understanding the relationship between reader, writer and editor
- Things to consider about writing voice and style
- Course summary and next steps
Assignment: Identify the thematic questions of three novels. How important was the theme? In which ways did the author explore the main themes?
NEXT SESSION — SUMMER 2017
REGISTRATION OPENS: Wednesday June 14th
START DATE: Monday July 5th
PLACES AVAILABLE: 10
DURATION: 4 weeks
FEE: £199 GBP