Self-Editing Course: Polish your Manuscript
The Best Self-Editing Course For Your Book
This six-week self-editing course will give you all the tools necessary to analyse and deconstruct your draft and all your future manuscripts.
This is our most popular course where alumni from the first five years have averaged an impressive one-in-four publication rate! You’ll learn how to self-edit a book and create a clear plan for a final draft ready to submit to literary agents or self-publish. You’ll master the tricks to brilliant narrative drive, voice, plot and story development. This course is suitable for non-fiction and fiction writers with a finished draft in need of editing.
Places on the course are strictly limited.
2024 dates are out now.
This course at a glance:
A Six-Week Course
Running four times a year
Weekly online content
Small Class Sizes
For personal tutor attention
Editing Fiction? Why Choose This Course?
All course content including tutorials, videos, exercises, tasks, and reading lists, is uploaded to the course platform on the same day each week as you learn how to self-edit a book.
Direct feedback on your work
Each week, you’ll be set a task to be completed by the following week. Your tutors and peers will then give you feedback on your writing. Feedback and exercises are based on your own novel, so you can apply the advice directly to your work-in-progress.
A Community of writers
Each course has 12 students that engage in discussion and peer-feedback every week. Students tend to form strong and lasting bonds, which means the exchange of ideas, friendship and support lasts beyond the course itself.
Once you’re enrolled, you’ll have full access to all that content permanently. So there’s plenty of time to fit the course around your everyday life.
Book Your Place Now
2024 dates out now. Book your place on our most popular course now.
Date: This course runs four times a year.
Duration: 6 weeks
Price: £895.00 (10% discount for members)
Entry: 2024 dates are out now. If you’re eligible, you could enter the course via our bursary opportunity, here.
Lead Tutor: Debi Alper
Debi Alper is the primary presenter of the self-edit course. She’s the author of two gritty urban stories Nirvana Bites and Trading Tatiana (both Orion, and critically acclaimed), and both written with love and humour. She is a vastly talented and experienced tutor and editor and has been instrumental in many client successes. For the last thirteen years, Debi has spent most of her time helping other writers perfect their novels!
Tutor: Emma Darwin
Emma Darwin is the acclaimed and bestselling author of The Mathematics of Love and A Secret Alchemy, both historical fiction. Emma is also an experienced tutor and editor, with a long track record of helping first-time writers achieve publication.
Are You An Under-Represented Writer?
We have bursary places available on this course throughout 2023 & 2024.
Our Success Stories
Self-Editing Course Syllabus
Week 1 – Plot & Structure
Have you started your book in the right place? Are you including information vital to you, the author, but not needed by the reader? Is it clear in every chapter what your protagonist needs, what they do to get it and what gets in their way?
This session is designed to ensure that. each of your chapters has the essential content to make up the ‘narrative triangle’, and that your pacing is spot on, with no faltering in the narrative drive.
Week 2 – Character
Creating convincing and engaging characters is vital to the success of your novel. The reader must see them changing and really care what happens to them. In this session, we’ll teach you the techniques to ensure you know your characters inside out, and can bring them alive as characters-in-action.
Week 3 – Voice
When you submit your MS to an agent, they can tell at a glance if it’s worth their time reading on. More than any other single issue, they’ll base their assessment on voice. Whether you’re writing in the first or third person, creating an engaging voice and getting it right is essential. This session gives you the tools to check whether you’re there yet or not. (And if you don’t know what voice is, this week is essential!)
Week 4 – Point of View and Psychic Distance
Novels are the only narrative form that can go deep inside fictional characters’ heads and see the world through their eyes. Sometimes you may want the reader to share your protagonists’ perceptions and empathise with them. Other times, you might choose to be more remote and objective. But how do you know which technique to use, and when? This session shows you how to make those decisions and also move between POVs if you need to.
Week 5 – Prose microscope
You might have a compelling story to tell with sizzling characters, but if you don’t get the words right how will you engage the interest of your reader? Does your prose have a pleasing rhythm, appropriate for the content? Are you tagging every verb with an adverb? Are you ‘telling’ when you should be ‘showing’? In this session, we place a piece of your prose under the microscope, examining it in detail. We look at where your strengths lie, and which areas need improvement.
Week 6 – Over to you
What area of your book concerns you most? Are you uneasy about a certain aspect of character development? Maybe there’s a plot device that you suspect feels contrived. Or perhaps you’re not confident that you’ve really nailed a particular voice. In this session, we ask you to focus on an aspect of your own book that you’d like feedback on.
Which genres are accepted?
All. Fiction and non-fiction.
What manuscript lengths do you accept?
Is this service for UK writers only?
No, we work with writers from all around the world.
Which editors do you work with?
The course is led by professional editors, and acclaimed authors, Debi Alper and Emma Darwin.
How much is the Self-Editing Course?
£895 with 10% off for members.
How long is the course?
How many hours per week should I be putting in?
You’ll need to devote a minimum of three hours a week to the course, but obviously the more time you are able to put, in the more you’ll get out.
How many will be on the course?
Twelve. Many go on to becoming lifelong friends.
Will it be possible to ask questions during the course?
Yes. You’ll be working on your own novel through the course, and getting plenty of feedback.
Will I still have access to the course materials after the six weeks?
Yes, the threads and discussions all remain on the site for the foreseeable future and you will also receive a comprehensive pack after the course ends.
I gained so many new skills and insights; straight away, I could see the difference the course made to my writing. I won the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and my novel was published in 2019 by Orion.
Claire Wade, ‘The Choice’
It’s really hard to describe how monumental this course can be for your own personal writing.
J Buxton, Self-Edit Alumnus
From my perspective, Debi’s class should be mandatory for writing students.
Billy W, Self-Edit Alumnus
Need some extra help?
Get in touch with our Writers Support team who will be happy to help!