The Club Ed Certificate in Developmental Editing of Fiction Program

The Club Ed Certificate in Developmental Editing of Fiction program is a new offering from Club Ed. Developmental editing is not an entry-level position. You have to understand the principles of storytelling and the use of effective editorial techniques to do it well. The certificate program is designed to help you develop these skills.

Benefits of a certificate of completion

But what it doesn’t do is promise that anyone will hire you or consider it a meaningful credential. The purpose of the program is skill-based and education-focused: it is meant to help you be ready to do the work. 


This is not an accredited program. It is intended strictly for professional development.

Establishing a successful freelance editing business (or getting a staff job from a publisher) is a separate issue from learning the skills to do the job. What Club Ed does offer business-building classes to help you build your business, but there is no simple solution to finding clients or getting hired. 

The Club Ed program focuses on editing works written for adults, and in particular genre fiction, as this is where most fiction editing work can be found. If you are interested in editing primarily children’s literature (including middle grade), this program is probably not the right one for you. However, young adult (YA) shares enough commonalities with fiction for adults that the principles of editing for both are similar.

How the program works


You must take the instructor-led Beginning and Intermediate Developmental Editing of Fiction classes OR the self-paced DE 1-6 (Foundations of Storytelling, etc.) series.


You must take three instructor-led classes covering specific developmental problems. These are:

  • Editing for World-Building and Setting
  • Editing for Character Development
  • Editing for Plot and Story Structure


You must take four electives of your choice. Choose from self-paced and instructor-led:

  • DE Detective (self-paced)
  • Essentials of Conflict (self-paced)
  • Editing for Point-of-View and Perspective (self-paced)
  • Copyediting and Line Editing of Fiction (self-paced)
  • Editing the Romance (self-paced)
  • Editing Mystery/Thriller/Suspense (self-paced)
  • Developmental Editing of Nonfiction (self-paced)
  • Starting Your Editing Business (now self-paced, previously instructor-led)
  • Getting Editorial Work from Publishers and Packagers (instructor-led)
  • Editorial Toolkit: Coaching Writers (instructor-led)
  • NEW! Editing Short Stories and Novellas (instructor-led)
  • NEW! Explorations: Editing Literary Fiction (instructor-led)
  • NEW! Explorations: Editing Memoir (instructor-led)
  • NEW! Editing Science Fiction and Fantasy (instructor-led)


You must take the instructor-led Advanced Developmental Editing class OR the self-paced Developmental Editing Practicum.


For all instructor-led classes, you must complete all assignments and turn them in by the deadline for each class.


You must signal your intent to complete the program by filing an application to the program. (There is no charge.) You have three years from the time of your application to complete the requirements for the certificate. When you have completed the required series of classes, you must submit a request for certificate (there is also no charge for this).

Note: If you’ve taken Club Ed classes, some of these can be applied to the program requirements. List the Club Ed classes you’ve taken when you fill out the application and we’ll let you know which requirements they can be used to fulfill. 


You must agree to abide by the Kindness Policy.

The cost of the complete program is about $2,000, depending on the class choices you make. Classes are purchased a la carte, and you pay for classes as you are ready, not all at once. The program is intended to be completed in about a year, taking about one class a month, but you can take up to three years from the time of application to finish the program.