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Edit Your Novel the Right Way!

Learn the tricks and techniques to turning your rough draft into a thing of beauty.
3.8 (3 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
645 students enrolled
Created by Carl Plumer
Last updated 4/2016
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23 hours left at this price!
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Understand the components of a good novel
Learn to self-edit your work like an editing SUPERSTAR!
Understand and find online tools to assist in self-editing
Know the value of editing and proofreading
Know which software to leverage, and which to avoid
Learn about the best places on the web to get feedback from other writers
Discover how to grow a protective shell and protect yourself from critics and hurtful comments
Learn to be smart about finding and choosing the best editors for YOUR work
Discover how to have fun editing your novel or story (yes, it really CAN be fun)
View Curriculum
  • Have written a novel
  • Understand basic novel concepts such as story arc and subplot
  • Understand story structure

I know how hard it is to edit your first draft.

I know how hard it is to WRITE your first draft, to begin with!

I've been where you are.

Perhaps disappointed by what you've written.

Perhaps feeling that it's not QUITE what you had in mind.

Well, this is the right course for you.

First, I take a POSITIVE and FUN approach to editing.

Nothing to be dreaded or afraid of.

I've written six novels and a bucket load of short stories.

Three of my novels are published, as is my collection of short stories.

Now here's the thing.

My novels were TERRIBLE when I finished writing them.

Really, really awful.

So, I got help. I learned everything I could about editing your novel from some great books and some great online courses, including those by the wonderful Holly Lisle and the amazing Shawn Coyne and the brilliant James Scott Bell, among many, many other great writers and editors.

I also worked with genius editors through draft after draft and learned from what they told me about my writing (some of it eye opening).

And I discovered online resources you won't believe exist -- they are that good!

This course can be finished in an hour, but in my opinion it should ideally be used this way:

     1. After the intro lessons, take ONE lesson, learn from it.

     2. Then, APPLY it to your current manuscript.

     3. When you're done, come back and take the next lesson.

     4. Apply what you've learned to your manuscript AGAIN.

     5. Rinse and repeat.

In this manner, make your way through the course.

When you are done with the course — whether it takes you hours, days, weeks, or months -- so, too, your manuscript will be done!

So don't delay. I promise it's painless. You'll learn a lot and have fun doing it.

And remember, this course, like all the courses on, is yours to access forever.

That's really good for two reasons:

You can retake the course every time you have a new novel or short story to edit

The course will increase in content over time, and will always be up-to-date, because I will be adding new courses and refreshing existing courses all the time.

So sign up, and best of luck.

And remember, you can always ask me questions right in the course.

This course — again, like all of udemy's courses — are personal. They aren't just posted here and forgotten. Letting you sink or swim on your own.

I'll be here to offer advice, answer questions, and guide you through the rough spots.

Aren't you excited to get started? I am eager to have you jump in with both feet!

Let's do this!



Who is the target audience?
  • Any writer at any stage of their career
  • This is NOT for writers who have not yet completed a first draft of a novel
  • This is NOT for nonfiction ("true") book writers, although some of the material does apply to all writing in general
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 35 Lectures Collapse All 35 Lectures 01:01:33
2 Lectures 01:46

A quick introduction to what you'll learn by taking this course. Good luck!

Preview 01:46

A image and PDF file on how to create the perfect story. This is a download for you.

7 Steps to the Perfect Story
Your First Pass: The Heavy Lifting of Making High-Level Changes to Your Draft
4 Lectures 06:35

Your first step to a successful edit is to print out your manuscript. Yes, you must leave the digital realm for awhile!

Preview 03:07

Reading out loud is the secret "killer" method to revealing the best — and worst — of your story.

Preview 00:55

Start with the big stuff! Don't make the mistake that so many writers make and start by editing sentences and words, no no!

Make Big, High-level Changes

Index cards are old school, but do they work to help you organize your story!

Using Index Cards: Oh, it's Magic!

A quick test of what you've learned so far.

What you've learned so far
1 question
Fine Tuning and Tightening UP
3 Lectures 04:06

In this lesson, you'll learn how to remove unnecessary and distracting conversation "tags."

Preview 01:43

In this lesson, you'll learn how to add tension to every scene and conversation in your novel -- and why this is a critical element to your book's success.

Add Tension — EVERYWHERE!

In this lesson, you'll learn how to apply the five senses to your work.

Enhance Descriptions: Use all of the Five Senses
Character Fixes
3 Lectures 02:44

In this lesson, you'll learn how to SHOW emotions in your characters, so the reader can feel them, and not just read about them.

Real Emotion: Show it

Emotions Hand out

Recommended reading for adding real emotion and psychological depth to your characters.

Recommended Reading: Creating Believable Characters
4 pages
Time Travel
3 Lectures 04:22

In this lesson, you learn about the magic of foreshadowing.

Insert Foreshadowing

In this lesson, you'll learn about flashbacks and when (and if you should) use them in your story.


Used sparingly, dream sequences can be an effective way to communicate characters' hidden emotions and thoughts.

The Plot Thickens: Adding or Enhancing Subplots
3 Lectures 04:48

In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of having a subplot to complement your main story.

Subplots: You need at least one

In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of having TWO subplots to complement your main story.

Subplots: Make that two

In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of having THREE subplots to complement your main story. But stop there. Seriously. Unless you're George RR Martin.

Subplots: Okay, you need three, but seriously, that's it
Gathering Feedback
4 Lectures 03:06

In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of having the input of friends, and how to ask for their help the right way.

Preview 00:42

In this lesson, you're introduced to the Writer's Cafe on the web.

Interacting on Writer’s Café

In this lesson, you're introduced to WattPad on the web.

Preview 00:42

In this lesson, you're introduced to the Scribophile site on the web.

Interacting on Scribophile

Checking your knowledge

What you've learned so far, part deux
1 question
What to do with Feedback
3 Lectures 03:55

In this lesson, you learn how to incorporate feedback.

Preview 01:11

In this lesson, you learn how to ignore bad or off-target feedback.

Incoming! — Ignoring Feedback

In this lesson, you learn how to deflect hurtful criticism.

Incoming! — Developing a Tough Hide
Automated Editing
6 Lectures 21:12

In this lesson, you learn about a great self-editing tool — in my opinion, the best one.

Preview 01:22

In this lesson, you'll learn the in's and out's of one of the best self-editing system available, and perhaps decide for yourself if it's right for you.

AutoCrit Demo

In this lesson, you learn about another great self-editing tool.

ProWriting Aid

In this lesson, you learn about the Hemingway app for self-editing (Mac only, for now).


In this lesson, you learn about a cool little self-editing tool.


In this lesson, I tell you about a couple of self-editing tools you should be wary of, for one reason or another. Caveat emptor, as they say.

Editing Software to Avoid

Final checkup

What you've learned so far, final deux
1 question
Time to Get Professional Help
2 Lectures 02:00

In this lesson, you'll learn about the best way of all to find the perfect book editor for you.

Getting Recommendations

In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the best places on the web for researching and selecting a great editor for your book.

Finding a Good Editor Online
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
3.6 Average rating
13 Reviews
1,288 Students
4 Courses
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter, Podcaster
CARL S. PLUMER was born in so-called New York City, holds advanced degrees in writing (and he's not intending on letting go), and has spent his life surrounded by words (mostly on his tee shirts). He's delivered some of the first known newspapers, worked on the original printing press, managed the first bookstore established in America, taught writing back when it was known as "runes," wrote for literary magazines back when they were dreadful, and has always considered himself a writer (although many have strenuously disagreed). He is an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (based on weight) Quarterfinalist and a National Indie Excellence Award (based on bribes) Finalist.
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