Beginning Developmental Editing for Fiction (Sep 4 – Oct 1, 2024)



$300 (Members: $270) | How to become a developmental editor | 4 weeks | Instructor-led | Beginner

This highly popular class is meant for anyone interested in working with novelists to help them tell better stories.

We’ll discuss the basics of developmental editing (what it is and isn’t), the methods of developmental editing in fiction, and how to work effectively with novelists.

The class covers:

  • The qualities and characteristics of a good DE
  • Constructing diplomatic queries
  • Identifying problems such as info-dumping, starting the novel in the wrong place, head-hopping, and more
  • Recognizing structural problems, including problems with conflict and motivation
  • Tracing the narrative spine of a story to uncover story problems
  • Working effectively with novelists—how to be a DE and not an unwelcome coauthor
  • Creating a revision letter for a project that outlines your suggestions for how a writer should tackle a needed rewrite.

Each week includes a new lesson and a new assignment to be submitted for the instructor’s feedback along with online discussions about developmental issues.

Instructor: Shelley Egan

Shelley is a freelance editor who specializes in editing fiction. Her credentials include a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in education, a publishing certificate from Toronto Metropolitan University, and a Club Ed Certificate in the Developmental Editing of Fiction. She took her first developmental editing course with Jennifer Lawler in 2016.

A former Hansard editor and college/university instructor, Shelley is an enthusiastic lifelong learner who thrives on professional development and continues to take writing and editing courses. She belongs to a group of novice writers who live in Canada, the UK, and Barbados and is an Editors Canada member and volunteer.

The class is entirely online and asynchronous (you don’t have to be in any particular place at any particular time to participate) but weekly assignments are due by specific deadlines.