SELF-EDIT YOUR NOVEL COURSE FOR WRITERS
The Best Self-Editing Course For Your Book
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, so you can make sure your manuscript is in the best possible shape when you’re 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 writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction, who are looking to rework and edit their draft.
Places on the course are strictly limited.
2024 dates are almost sold out – secure your place now.
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Why choose this course?
Our most popular course, the Self-Edit Your Novel course provides students with the chance to work on their draft alongside two exceptional tutors and build life-long connections with authors from around the world.
Direct feedback on your work
A community of writers
Meet Your Tutors
Throughout the course you’ll work closely with tutor Debi Alper, who will assign you weekly exercises and provide critical feedback on your manuscript. You’ll also benefit from Emma Darwin’s weekly overview and curated online readings.
Debi is the author of five published novels, the first two published by Orion and then republished under her own imprint, along with the next three in the series. Since 2006, Debi has worked as a freelance editor and creative writing tutor, including running the phenomenally successful Jericho Writers’ Self-Edit Your Novel course, together with Emma Darwin. She won the inaugural RNA Indie Editor of the Year Award in 2021. Debi also acts as a competition judge and was a reader for the Costa Short Story Awards.
Emma Darwin’s bestselling novels have been nominated for several awards including the Commonwealth Writers and RNA Novel of the Year. She is the author of Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, the memoir This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin and her renowned blog ‘This Itch of Writing’. She currently teaches at Goldsmiths and Oxford University, and as a tutor, editor and mentor has long experience of helping writers to achieve publication.
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.
Are you an under-represented writer?
We have bursary places available throughout 2024 for the Self-Edit Your Novel course. For more information on eligibility, check out our Bursaries page.
Self-Edit Hall of Fame
We’re so proud to see our students’ novels get snapped up by publishers or self-published and landing in the hands of readers across the globe. In fact, one-in-four of our alumni in the first five years of the course have gone on to get published! Could you be next?
We’ve helped hundreds of writers achieve their goals
But don’t take our word for it! Hear what our students have to say about this career-changing course below.
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.
It’s really hard to describe how monumental this course can be for your own personal writing.
This course not only taught me how to refine and polish my novel, but also to meet fellow writers who continue to be my early beta readers. I’ve no doubt at all that the Self Edit course helped me on my path to publication. Highly recommended!
From my perspective, Debi’s class should be mandatory for writing students.
Which genres are accepted?
The course is suitable for writers of fiction and narrative 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.
Who are the tutors on the Self-Edit Your Novel Course?
This course is led by professional editors, and acclaimed authors, Debi Alper and Emma Darwin.
How much is the Self-Edit Your Novel Course?
The Self-Edit Your Novel Course costs £895. Premium Members save 10%.
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?
There are twelve students on each course in total. Many go on to become 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 alum pack after the course ends.
We have online courses for every stage of your writing journey.