Continuing Professional Development

Courses I’ve taken through the Editorial Freelancers Association:

Advanced Developmental Editing, taught by Jennifer Lawler, May 2018

An intensive course where I edited a full novel under instructor guidance and which concluded with a detailed evaluation of my edit and revision letter. Class assignments focused on reviewing the principles of developmental editing, creating an editorial plan, tracing and analysing the narrative spine of a story and providing an appropriate critique.

This was an invaluable learning experience that helped me to better understand my working process and how to strengthen it, as well as giving me a greater insight into how my edits are received by authors. During the course, I worked on developing an editorial theory, which I then applied to the manuscript. This allowed me to consolidate my edits and provide the author with stronger, more streamlined feedback. After taking this course, I changed the way I query on a manuscript as well as fine-tuning my editorial process to make it more effective.

Intermediate Developmental Editing, taught by Jennifer Lawler, October-November 2017

An in-depth exploration of issues that crop up in developmental editing, what’s behind them and how an editor can help an author to both see and solve these issues. Assignments related to: helping an author solve plot problems while maintaining their voice, assisting an author to go deeper into the perspective of their characters in order to more effectively convey their story and story world, dealing with the interplay of character, character motivation, conflict and arc; how to prioritise edits and helping experienced novelists go from good to great.

I learned how to connect issues that may crop up in an edit, in order to help show authors where and how they’re going wrong. This course also taught me how to effectively edit for voice and perspective, in part by teaching authors about point-of-view. The knowledge I gained on this course has proven to be incredibly helpful in my work.

Beginner’s Developmental Editing, taught by Jennifer Lawler, September-October 2017

An introduction to developmental editing. Assignments covered: how to construct diplomatic queries on a manuscript, how editing for a publisher differs from editing for an individual author, balancing big-picture problems with sentence-level errors, problems common to fiction writing and how to help an author solve them, identifying structural weaknesses and working effectively with novelists.

This course helped me to consolidate my knowledge of issues common to developmental editing of fiction. It gave me an overview of how to conduct a developmental edit for a traditional publisher and an understanding of the roles assigned in an editorial department. It also gave me a good understanding of how editing for self-publishers differs from editing for a traditional publisher. Additionally, I learned how to effectively and sensitively raise queries with authors as well as how to prioritise my queries.

Book Mapping for Developmental Editors, taught by Heidi Fiedler, October 2016

A book map is a visual overview of a novel that charts elements such as: plot arc, subplot progression and character development, amongst others. It’s a tool to assist writers and editors in seeing the big picture of their novels, and where they might take the next draft. This course explained the book mapping process and how it can be used to analyse problems with narrative arc.  During the course we analysed story structure through the use of existing book maps, we also created and analysed our own book maps.

Subsequent to taking this course I began regularly using book maps of varying complexity in my editing, many of which I’ve shared with my clients. Some of the authors I work with have since gone on to use book mapping and more detailed outlining as part of their creative process.

Educational webinars I’ve participated in, through the Editorial Freelancers Association: 

Editing Memoir, Balancing Artistry and Accuracy, given by Melissa Wuske, October 2018

A discussion of the skills required to edit memoir and issues particular to the genre, as well as the market for memoir and how to forge effective partnerships with authors.

This webinar helped me to think more deeply about the issues that often crop up in memoir and how I might help authors to solve them. Subsequent to listening to this webinar, I went on to explore these issues further by reading more about the craft of memoir.

Sensitivity Reads, given by Lourdes Venard, July 2018

An overview of sensitivity reading, which has become an additional check in fiction publishing.  This webinar included a discussion of the topic, which has proved controversial in some circles. Lourdes Venard covered what a sensitivity read should include and how it differs from editing itself. She also discussed how editors might incorporate an awareness of sensitivity into their edits (for example, by highlighting potentially controversial material and/or recommending that an author seek out a sensitivity read).

This webinar inspired me to read further around the topic and to incorporate my newfound awareness of the issues around sensitivity into my editing process.

Ghostwriting 101, given by Marcia Layton Turner (Association of Ghostwriters), July 2017

An overview of ghostwriting and how it differs from other types of writing. The webinar also covered issues particular to ghostwriting and the skills needed to be an effective ghostwriter.

This webinar gave me a good understanding of ghostwriting and what it entails.

Working with Independent Authors as an Editor, given by Tanya Gold, March 2017

An overview of how to work effectively with independent authors. This webinar discussed how editors can best meet the needs of indie authors and how to create strong, positive and lasting relationships with them.

This webinar helped me to think more deeply about how I interact with the authors I work with and to evaluate the effectiveness of my communication.