Classes – Books – Resources

Online Instructor-Led Classes

NEW! Editing the Romance Novel

Starts April 6, 2020 $199

In this four-week, instructor-led class, we’ll cover the basics of the developmental editing of romance. The class is meant for editors who have either some experience editing fiction or who have taken a developmental editing of fiction class.

Each week, you’ll read a lesson covering important issues in editing romance and do an assignment practicing editorial skills. I’ll give personal feedback on each assignment. There will also be a forum restricted to student use to discuss issues and questions about editing romance. The class assignments are due by specific deadlines (Sunday evening each week) but you have complete flexibility about when to access the materials, when to post to the forums, and so on. The class is completely asynchronous.

We’ll cover:

  • basic conventions of the genre (reader expectations)—what to do when authors violate these and how to tell when they have
  • differences among various subgenres (paranormal, suspense, contemporary, etc.)—how to provide guidance for authors who are letting, say, the suspense element overshadow the romance
  • bringing classic tropes into the twenty-first century
  • helping authors develop strong central conflicts that aren’t about outside dramas or that could be easily cleared up in a couple of sentences
  • spotting problems in goal-motivation—characters acting implausibly because that’s how the author has seen it done in other romances or because the plot demands it (versus it being the logical thing for this character to do)
  • showing the author how to turn types (alpha hero, soldier, friend-turned-lover) into realistic characters
  • helping the author learn to write in the deep third common to romance, including how to effectively alternate POVs
  • addressing common pitfalls in romance: MCs falling in love too soon, MCs declaring their love too soon, central conflict resolving too quickly/easily, and more
  • dealing with problem romance premises—what to do when the author has a thirteen-year-old “fall in love” with a thirty-year-old, etc.
  • addressing sexy time—how to edit sex scenes (note that this will be fairly explicit but any ms samples shared will be consensual)
  • making sure that love scenes (not necessarily sex scenes) are emotionally effective
  • and more!

Self-Paced Classes

You can enroll in self-paced classes at any time and do the work at any time. Answer keys are designed to help you assess your progress. Log-in information is provided by auto-responder immediately after purchase.

NEW Self-Paced Class!

Writing Effective Editorial Queries for Developmental Editors

($25) In developmental editing, much of the guidance we provide to authors takes places in the queries. This self-paced class provides information about best practices for DEs, particularly for fiction. 

The class includes a thorough description of effective querying practices, a sample ms edit with ineffective queries for you to evaluate, commentary to help you judge your evaluation, and a sample ms edit with more effective queries.

How to Edit Query Letters, Synopses, Elevator Pitches, and More!

($79) This four-lesson, self-paced class is meant for editors who would like to offer additional services to authors beyond manuscript editing. In this class, you’ll learn how to edit:

  • query letters and story synopses for authors planning to follow the traditional publishing path
  • elevator pitches for authors planning to attend conference pitch sessions or who just want to be able to talk about their book to potential readers
  • blurbs—those brief book descriptions that go on the back of the book or in the online book listing/catalog
  • pull quotes—quotes from the book that authors use to help promote the work on social media (why do they always pick terrible quotes?)
  • author bios, both brief bylines for use in marketing/promotion and longer “about the author” bios that go in a press kit or on a website

The course materials discuss the purpose of each of these items, what those reading/reviewing them are looking for, and how editors can help authors fine-tune their work to make it as compelling as possible. Exercises with answer keys are included to help your practice the techniques described.


DE Detective: Using sentence-level clues to track down developmental problems

($79) Four lessons, self-paced class, meant for working with fiction authors

When a manuscript has obvious problems, they’re, well, obvious. The overemphasis on backstory has slowed the pacing to a crawl, the POV hops from head to head, it takes three chapters for the actual story to start.

This class is about going beyond the obvious. We’ll polish our magnifying glasses and learn how to search the ms at the sentence level for clues about developmental problems. Click here for more information.

Manuscript Evaluation

($59) This class teaches you how to add the additional service of manuscript evaluation to your menu of offerings. This class is intended for fiction editors.

This is a great option for people not ready for a full developmental edit who just need some overall guidance about where their ms is going wrong and how to fix it.

For more experienced authors, this can be a way to provide “a second set of eyes” to help them avoid dropped plot threads or open questions they don’t intend.

It’s a budget-friendly option that can help an author get a feel for working with you before engaging you for a more expensive developmental edit.

You can also use a version of this process to quickly determine the amount of developmental work a project is likely to need, which helps you quote project fees more realistically. 

The class includes a full ms for you to practice on and provides a sample evaluation (this is a new ms you will not have encountered in other classes).

Developmental Editing of Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

$79. This self-paced class provides a brief background of basic principles of developmental editing, then dives deep into the nitty-gritty details of developmental editing mystery/thriller/suspense novels, with examples of before-and-after manuscripts to show how these problems crop up. It includes a model edit on a full suspense manuscript, including a revision letter.


Evaluating Your Effectiveness as an Editor

Enroll at any time; go at your own pace. This quick, two-lesson class is for freelance editors who have at least some experience working with authors and who would like to evaluate their efforts to see if they might improve their work. Just $25! For more information, click here.

Payment note:

The shopping cart on this page is setup for processing payments through Paypal. If you would like to pay using another method, please email me at and I’ll send you an invoice for paying by check or credit card.

Note that I teach a lot of developmental editing and related courses for the Editorial Freelancers Association. Details on those can be found here.

Learn more about the Resort Director’s experience here.

“I had several a-ha moments while reading Jennifer’s thorough, clear-eyed editing critique. I came away with concrete, actionable advice that I have already started using with my current project. Jennifer’s critique will make me a better – and more confident – developmental editor.” 

– Kristen Tate
The Club Ed Guide to Starting and Running a Profitable Freelance Editing Business is available on Amazon here ($11.99 print and $5.99 ebook).