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Hello, and welcome to the AWM Year Of The Edit Online.
This course is designed for people who have a full draft of a novel to work on (or at least 70% of one) and is all about giving you a method you can use to edit this book and all your future books.
My name is Kim Wilkins and I’ve written 26 books. This, as you can imagine, has equated to several decades worth of editing. In addition, I’ve mentored dozens of novelists, helping them polish their work, and I’ve taught editing at University of Queensland where I was awarded my PhD. All of this is a long way of saying, “Trust me; I’m a Doctor.”
The lessons in this course mirror the levels of editing applied to novels by not only myself but the trade publishing industry as a whole.
First, there is structural editing, where we identify problems at a big picture level. For example: plot and pace, characterisation, and setting. The structural editing lessons are recorded via video, and require you to consider your whole manuscript. They are spaced far enough apart in the course that you have time to do the set exercise of each video, which is often simply to re-read your story and apply changes while armed with a fresh perspective.
Second, there is line editing (also called copy editing), where we identify problems at a more detailed level. For example: how are your sentences working, how can you tighten vague or convoluted writing, or how should your dialogue sound? I have set exercises for you to practice these aspects of craft. The line editing lessons are recorded on audio, and require you to consider small parts of your manuscript. Eventually, you will apply these lessons across your whole manuscript.
Problems at the structural level and the line level sometimes shade into each other. But making these distinctions and working on exercises in these two areas is a great place to start.
The video and audio files are recorded off the cuff so they’re like the experience you’d get in a classroom with me. They might not all be of uniform length, and you’ll have to put up with me and my unfunny jokes, but hopefully it will be more dynamic than listening to somebody read an over-prepared speech.
Now, before we begin the first lesson next fortnight, there’s something very important you need to do. You need to print your manuscript, double spaced, and write FIRST DRAFT on the front of it. When you’re ready to start turning it into a second draft, jump in to the first lesson in next fortnight’s video.
Until then, let’s get to know each other.
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Writing is an individual occupation, but it can be made more fulfilling and easier to navigate by being in a community of people who also like writing. Working online can also feel isolating, so sharing details about yourself and being able to read about your peers in this course will help you to feel more comfortable in this space.
WHAT TO DO:
Let’s get some introductions happening! Introduce yourself to your online writing group by posting in the Getting To Know You forum.
Write your intro in the third person as if it were someone else introducing you. Keep the entry very brief – no more than 150 words. Include in it what book you are reading at the moment and something about yourself that is unusual or unexpected.
Then in 200 words or under, answer the following questions about your novel:
- What is your novel’s working title?
- What genre is your novel? (If you’re not sure, have a guess. Often novels are hybrids of a number of genres)
- What is your novel about? (100 words max)
- What do you struggle with when writing?
- What was your greatest challenge in completing a full draft?
The easiest way to post your answer in the forum is by pre-writing your response in a word processor and then cutting and pasting your words as a reply into the forum thread.
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