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Editing the Romance, August 17-September 13 (4 weeks online) SU20


Where: AsynchronousOnline (Sakai)

August 17, 2020

29 seats available

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Product Description


This class is meant for editors who have either some experience editing fiction or who have taken a developmental editing of fiction class. We’ll dig deeper into common problems you’ll encounter in editing in the romance genre, whether for independent authors or book publishers.

We’ll cover:

  • basic conventions of the genre (reader expectations)—what to do when authors violate these and how to tell when they have
  • differences among various subgenres (paranormal, suspense, contemporary, etc.)—how to provide guidance for authors who are letting, say, the suspense element overshadow the romance
  • bringing classic tropes into the twenty-first century
  • helping authors develop strong central conflicts that aren’t about outside dramas or that could be easily cleared up in a couple of sentences
  • spotting problems in goal-motivation—characters acting implausibly because that’s how the author has seen it done in other romances or because the plot demands it (versus it being the logical thing for this character to do)
  • showing the author how to turn types (alpha hero, soldier, friend-turned-lover) into realistic characters
  • helping the author learn to write in the deep third common to romance, including how to effectively alternate POVs
  • addressing common pitfalls in romance: MCs falling in love too soon, MCs declaring their love too soon, central conflict resolving too quickly/easily, and more
  • dealing with problem romance premises—what to do when the author has a thirteen-year-old “fall in love” with a thirty-year-old, etc.
  • addressing sexy time—how to edit sex scenes (note that this material is PG-13 for the purposes of this class, but you will be expected to edit explicit sexual material if you’re planning to edit romance, even if you’re not planning to edit erotica)
  • making sure that love scenes (not necessarily sex scenes) are emotionally effective
  • and more!

Each week, you’ll read a lesson covering important issues in editing romance and do an assignment practicing editorial skills. The instructor will give personal feedback on each assignment. A forum allows students and instructor to discuss issues and questions about editing romance. The class assignments are due by specific deadlines (Sunday evening each week) but you have complete flexibility about when to access the materials, when to post to the forums, and so on. The class is completely asynchronous.

Before the first week of class, read at least one published romance of any type and keep it ready as you’ll do part of each homework assignment about this book.

Instructor Jennifer Lawler is a freelance book development editor and the author of more than thirty nonfiction books and novels. She has worked as an acquisitions editor for a romance imprint and was once a literary agent. In her spare time, she hosts an online book club for developmental editors and builds miniature bookshelf dioramas. She earned her PhD in medieval English literature from the University of Kansas and a black belt in Taekwondo at approximately the same time. She has not quite decided which has been more useful. She recently relocated to southern California.

“Jennifer’s feedback was wonderful. As a freelancer I don’t get feedback often, so this was refreshing.”

A Note About the EFA's Online Courses

Our online courses are conducted through Sakai, a learning management system (LMS). You never need to be at your computer at any specific hour. More information about how these asynchronous classes are conducted is available here. Information on our refund policy is available here. All participants in EFA courses must abide by our anti-harassment policy, which you can find here.