Foundations of Storytelling for Developmental Editors (self-paced online course, register by October 1)


Sorry, this class has been completely booked



This four-lesson, self-paced class is intended for students interested in developmental editing of fiction (sometimes called story development or big-picture editing) but who may not be familiar with how editors and writers talk about story. If you’re not sure what “conflict” means in a novel or what “backstory” is composed of and how it can lead to “info-dumping,” this class is for you. It can be taken ahead of or in conjunction with the instructor’s Beginning Developmental Editing for Fiction class.

“Self-paced” means that students read the lessons and do the exercises at their own pace. There is no instructor feedback although models are provided in the lessons. You will have six months to access the course materials, which can be downloaded for your future reference.

This class starts at the beginning: what a novel is, how genres work, how readers read. You’ll learn not just the definition of story conflict but how to identify it when you see it. You’ll learn what GMC stands for and you’ll understand what we mean when we talk about:

  • character development
  • point-of-view and perspective (they’re not the same thing)
  • pacing and other plot problems
  • world-building
  • show versus tell
  • And more!

The class also discusses how to develop an editorial eye and what we’re trying to accomplish when we perform a developmental edit on a novel.

This is not primarily a how-to class, although each lesson includes an assignment that helps you practice, it’s a theory and concepts class.

Registrations will be taken until October 1, 2020, at which time the class will be closed to new enrollment.

Within 1-2 business days of registering for the course, you will be added to the course site and access the materials. If you do not receive emails from Sakai within that time frame, please reach out to the EFA office.

Course designer 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.

A Note About the EFA's Self-Paced Online Courses

Our online courses are conducted through Sakai, a learning management system (LMS). Self-paced courses are undertaken by the student at their own pace and no instructor feedback is provided. Students will have six months to access the course site and may download the course materials for later review. Information on how to access the course will be provided one to two business days after registration. All participants in EFA courses must abide by our anti-harassment policy, which you can find here.