Copyediting and Line Editing for Fiction




$99. How to copyedit and line edit fiction. This six-lesson, self-paced online class is designed for newer freelance editors who edit or hope to edit indie novelists. While there is no instructor feedback, the class offers six different assignments with informative answer keys so students can track their progress.

Most information about copyediting/line editing is designed with nonfiction in mind, but fiction and nonfiction are edited very differently. You can’t just apply the goals and methods of nonfiction copyediting to fiction and expect to succeed.

If you would like to sharpen your fiction editing skills, this is the class for you. It is not structural or developmental editing, although the skills learned here can be applied to developmental editing (for example, you will learn how to edit head-hopping at the sentence level).

While the course materials assume a basic familiarity with grammar and punctuation (which will not be covered in the class), grammar and punctuation issues specific to fiction, such as when to default to an author’s punctuation idiosyncrasies, will be discussed.

Note that course materials cover US standards/American English only.

Lessons cover:

  • what line editing is and its relationship to copyediting and developmental editing, including the line editor/copy editor’s role in development
  • understanding the client’s expectations and communicating your editorial intention
  • the basics of copyediting, including when to adhere to the style guide and when not to
  • writing effective sentence-level queries
  • how to create style sheets
  • when grammatical correctness matters and when it does not
  • reference resources, including styles guides, usage guides, and more
  • permissions and legal considerations
  • sentence structure errors, nominalizations, weak verbs, reductions, passive language
  • shifts (such as POV switching or incorrectly handled POV)
  • incorrectly handled psychic distance (between reader and POV character)
  • the uses of implied action
  • how to trim over-exposition and solve problems in description
  • cardinal rules that editors must help writers of fiction master (rule #1: avoid confusing the reader)
  • and more!