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Self-Editing: Do What You Can & Then Pay a Pro to Do the Rest

Learn about editing your own writing

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This is a course about editing your own writing.

Whether you’re just getting starting with writing or you've already published, you’ll get tips that will help you to improve your writing and the quality of your written work and save money on editing. You’ll do short exercises. At the course's halfway mark, you'll be directed to practice further on your own before continuing. This course is better suited for writers of fiction or narrative nonfiction (autobiography, memoir, etc.) than for writers of other types of nonfiction. The punctuation and grammar advice in this course is based on American English.

The course includes videos for every lesson as well as downloadable PDF handouts of the slides, so you can follow along, take notes, and learn at your own pace.

The modules are as follows:

Module 1: Introduction.

Module 2: Journey of a Manuscript. Learn about the stages of a manuscript, from first draft to final draft, and the various types of editing that can help you along the way.

Module 3: Publishing Style. Have you heard of the Chicago Manual of Style? Or AP Style? Find out what they are and why you should care.

Module 4: Point of View. Point of view is the narrator's relationship to the manuscript. Do you know what point of view you've chosen? Do you know the pros and cons of each option?

Module 5: Showing vs. Telling. You may have heard the advice to show, not tell. In this module, learn what showing and telling are and when to use each of them.

Module 6: Dialogue Formatting, Punctuation, and Tags. Learn when to start a new paragraph, how to use quotation marks, what dialogue tags and action tags are and how to use them, how to use other punctuation marks (commas, periods, etc.) with quotation marks and tags, and when to use suspension points (...) vs. an em dash (—).

Module 7: Realistic Dialogue. Get tips for writing realistic dialogue and keeping track of each character's unique voice.

Module 8: Characterization. Get tips for creating fully fledged characters.

Module 9: Proportion & Repetition. Make sure that you're sending your intended messages to your readers.

Module 10: Punctuation & Grammar: Commas. The comma has many uses. This may be the reason it confuses people.

Module 11: Punctuation & Grammar: Confused, Misused, or Ambiguous Words. Learn the difference between which and that, get guidance on when you should omit that, and get a short list of troublesome words.

Module 12: Punctuation & Grammar: Pronouns. Learn about personal pronouns, antecedents, pronoun–preposition pairings, and the difference between that and who.

Module 13: Punctuation & Grammar: Dangling Modifiers & Misplaced Modifiers. Make sure that descriptive phrases are attached to the items they describe.

Module 14: Punctuation & Grammar: Compound Adjectives. Get guidance on when to hyphenate multiword adjectives.

Module 15: Punctuation & Grammar: ing Words in Adverbial Clauses. Have a laugh while learning what these are, when to use them, and when not to use them.

Module 16: Punctuation & Grammar: Parallel Structure. Learn about parallel grammatical structure for lists in sentences, bulleted lists, and numbered lists.

Module 17: Punctuation & Grammar: Active Voice vs. Passive Voice. You may have heard the advice to avoid passive voice. In this module, learn what active voice and passive voice are and when to use each of them.

Module 18: Punctuation & Grammar: Incomplete Sentences. Learn the difference between complete sentences and incomplete sentences and when it's okay to use incomplete sentences.

Module 19: Punctuation & Grammar: Abbreviations. Gets tips on how to make abbreviations plural and how to figure out whether to precede an abbreviation with a or an.

Module 20: Publishing Law. Although Louann is not an attorney, in this module she shares some summary information and resources about defamation/libel/slander, copyright, permissions, right of publicity violation, trademark infringement, and breach of contract.

Module 21: Conclusion. Find out about the self-editing checklist and Louann's copyediting services.


Your Instructor


Louann Pope
Louann Pope

Louann Pope, a copyeditor who lives in Mount Pleasant, SC, applies her detail-oriented, analytical mind-set to copyediting a wide range of books (fiction and nonfiction), blogs, and other materials, teaching classes, and offering Ask a Copyeditor help-desk services. She is a member of various publishing organizations.


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"The class was very informative and well worth the cost and time. Louann Pope, the instructor, provided a plethora of insight, a well-organized approach to the process of self-editing, and confidence-provoking encouragement. She is a well-informed instructor in her field of expertise. I look forward to her next class."

Beverly J. Campbell, Writer

"During the class, there were multiple aha moments where I recognized a mistake I had made in my manuscript. The class filled in gaps in my knowledge. I can now fix those errors and provide the cleanest manuscript possible to editors or agents."

Fielding T. Atchley III, Writer

"There are a lot of rules that I use in writing simply because they sound right. The course helped to explain why some of those rules are right or wrong and helped me to solve some issues I was struggling with. Louann answered any questions I had and a few I didn’t know I needed to ask."

Joseph Gorman, Writer

"It was a very informative class, with helpful exercises and good discussion of the topic. The in-class exercises solidified the concepts, forcing me to think through what was being taught. I picked up several useful tips and resources. I recommend this class to any author who wants to improve their writing."

Christopher L. Wells, Author

"It was a very well-prepared class. Louann gave us lots of tips and great information that should help us in our writing projects."

Carolyn E. Havelka, Author

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To see information about all 21 modules of the course, click on the arrow above.

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Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It's a completely self-paced online course—you decide when you start and when you finish, and you can watch the videos as many times as you like.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like and across any and all devices you own.
What if I'm unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you're unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us during the first 30 days and we'll give you a full refund.
Can I share the course with other people?
We'd love for you to tell other people about this course! But don't share your username, password, or downloaded course materials with them. Each person will need to purchase his or her own access to the course.

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