Strengthen your manuscript with
Writing a novel is a huge accomplishment, but figuring out how to edit and enhance it can be challenging. This eighteen-week course will provide you with all the tools and techniques you need to prepare your manuscript for submission. You’ll work alongside a small group of novelists and an expert tutor as you navigate the editing process step-by-step.
You’ll work towards a submission package (a synopsis, your industry formatted and edited first 10,000 words, a covering letter, and a list of suitable agents) as you hone your skills. Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll be invited to submit your novel to a special list of agents open to submissions from course alumni.
To ensure that your manuscript is at the right stage for you to get the optimum benefits from the course, entry is by application only.
This course is delivered by our education partner, Professional Writing Academy, and is also in partnership with Cornerstones.
This course at a glance:
An Eighteen-Week Course
Ideal for advanced writers
Flexible Online Learning
A variety of weekly content
A Writing Community
With peer-to-peer feedback
Edit Your Novel the Professional Way Course Syllabus
Session 1: Plan and Plot
In the first session, you’ll learn about diagnostic structuring techniques and how to apply them to your own writing.
You’ll find and fix plot problems, and write a strong synopsis.
Session 2: Cracking Characters
In this session, you’ll learn how to develop characters that are less defined and assess a character’s strengths and weaknesses.
You’ll examine character arcs and their impact on structure, and analyse characters in terms of the function and role in the plot.
You’ll also create a detailed analysis of your protagonist, in which you’ll map out their internal and external conflicts and view them alongside your plot structure.
Session 3: What is the Point of View?
You’ll explore different POVs and how they affect readability and tension. You’ll learn how to make your POV as effective as possible and what to avoid when writing various POVs.
You’ll then edit your work and try to avoid any head-hopping as you aim to make your protagonist(s) more compelling.
Session 4: Effective Dialogue and Description
In this next session, you’ll learn about the purpose of dialogue, and how to navigate context, text, and subtext.
You’ll learn how to combine dialogue and description effectively within the parameters of your chosen POV, and explore different ways to use description to engage the reader’s imagination.
You’ll also learn about the red pen style of editing and how to rewrite scenes effectively.
Session 5: Show-stopping Scenes
You’ll learn how to condense certain sections of your writing to ensure that each scene has a clear purpose and direction, using questions and answers to enhance each scene and increase tension.
You’ll ensure that each scene within the first 10,000 words of your manuscript is really needed, and you’ll use the techniques you’ve learned to help you rewrite one of your scenes.
Session 6: Page-turning Pacing
You’ll discover and develop some advanced approaches to maintaining balance in your writing- knowing when to slow your pace and when to speed it up, not overwriting but also ensuring you add enough detail.
You’ll learn how to apply the concept of pacing to the overall structure of your book.
Session 7: Let Show not Tell Lead the Way
In the penultimate session, you’ll learn how to identify moments of ‘telling’ in your writing, and why, how, and where it’s best to add drama to those moments instead.
You’ll learn how to use the ‘show, not tell’ approach as a lens through which you can examine every aspect of your writing, and how to apply this mindset during the editing process.
Session 8: How to Catch an Agent’s Eye
In the final session, you’ll create an industry-level submission package to send to agents, and you’ll learn how to research and pitch agents, and you’ll also be given some tips on how to appeal to your chosen agent.
You’ll write a catchy book description and covering letter, using a helpful checklist of dos and don’ts. You’ll also finalise the synopsis you worked on in the very first session.
At the end of the course, you’ll receive detailed feedback from your tutor on your first 10,000 words, synopsis, and covering letter. You’ll end the course with the skills and tutor feedback you need in order to complete your novel edit to professional standards and prepare to query agents.
Start date: 16 October 2023
Duration: 18 weeks
Skill level: Advanced
*10% Premium Member Discount available (contact us for details)
Click here to be directed to PWA’s booking page.
Why choose this course?
Flexible learning You’ll learn through a mix of videos, reading extracts, podcasts, and written lectures – all at a time to suit you.
Direct feedback on your work You’ll be regularly sharing your work with your peers and course tutors who be provide you with professional-style feedback.
A community of writers Through discussing your work with others and providing feedback on your peers’ work, you’ll form a strong community with your fellow writers that could last a lifetime.
Click here to be directed to PWA’s booking page.
Your Course Director/Tutor: Helen Corner-Bryant
Helen spent several years working in editorial at Penguin before she set up Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 1998. Cornerstones became the world’s first transatlantic literary consultancy in 2016, when she opened Cornerstones US.
Cornerstones, and Helen herself, are known for supporting new authors throughout the editorial process, helping to scout for agents, providing feedback on manuscripts spanning multiple genres, and launching several writers.
Helen is a guest lecturer at universities such as the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford and the UCL Centre for Publishing. She’s also the co-author of Cornerstones’ guide to editing, On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way.
Your Tutor: Ayisha Malik
Ayisha is the author of multiple critically acclaimed novels. She writes fiction for both children and adults.
She was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick and is a winner of The Diversity Book Awards. Ayisha has also been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award, h100’s Awards for Publishing and Writing, and Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards.
Two of her novels, Sofia Khan is not Obliged and This Green and Pleasant Land, have been optioned for television.
Your Tutor: Lee Weatherly
Lee Weatherly (also known as L.A. Weatherly) has written over 50 books for children and young adults. She has been published in 20 different languages, and is the author of the bestselling Angel series.
She has received several awards for her work, including the Stockport Children’s Book Award, the Sheffield Children’s Book Award, and the Leeds Book Award. Lee was also shortlisted for the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the RoNA Award.
Lee works as a mentor (for places such as The WoMentoring Project and Gold Dust) and is passionate about guiding and supporting new writers. She has taught numerous workshops and residential courses over the years (at Arvon, SCBWI, Edinburgh festival, Hay festival, and YALC festival) and has seen many of her former students go on to have great writing careers.
This course has been independently accredited for its quality and integrity.
It reaches high, globally recognised CPD standards and benchmarks for active learning that develops competence, professional skills, and a rich understanding of the content.
Click here to be directed to PWA’s booking page.
Who is this course for?
Edit Your Novel the Professional way is an advanced-level course, ideal for people who have completed the first draft of a novel, whether that’s a current work-in-progress or a previous draft that you would like to revisit.
This course is suitable if the following apply to you:
- You have completed the first draft of your novel
- You’d like to broaden your knowledge of the submission process and the publishing industry
- You have an MA in writing
- You’re a published writer and are working on your next novel
- You’d like to develop some effective editing routines and habits, and focus on your novel writing
- You’re eager to be part of a small, friendly, supportive group of writers and learners
- You benefit from the structure that deadlines provide and enjoy peer feedback
- You have the capacity to dedicate 10 hours of your time each week throughout the duration of the course
What will this course teach me?
Over the course, you will learn:
- The key skills required to professionally self-edit a novel
- How to identify and pursue your potential as a writer
- What the industry expectations are around market, genre, and publishing
- How to use editing techniques to identify and resolve problems in your writing
- About the professional and technical aspects of preparing a manuscript for submission to literary agents
- How to create and edit an agent submission package, consisting of the first 10,000 words of your manuscript, a synopsis, and a covering letter
- How to further develop the professional skills writers require (attention to detail, the ability to work to deadlines, discipline etc)
- How to provide others with actionable feedback and receive feedback on your own writing
- How to develop your critical judgement skills as you self-manage, self-direct, and enhance your project as you work through the course briefs
How do I apply for this course?
It’s important that you and your manuscript are at the stage where you can most benefit from the course.
For this course, we like to review applications to ensure that the course is the best fit for you. To apply, please complete this online form. Your application will be reviewed, and you will receive a response within five working days.
If we confirm your place, you will receive an email about your payment options and the Terms and Conditions. Once your payment has been received, we will email you a receipt and confirm your place on the course and its start date.