Introduction to Fiction Editing (e-learning)

Introduction to Fiction Editing provides the novice fiction editor with a departure point to embark on the adventure of copyediting fiction. It discusses areas unique to fiction – plot, voice, point of view, dialogue and narrative consistency – alongside the general but associated topics of how to assess a manuscript and work on a text, plus critiques, synopses and blurbs.

About the course

After working through this course, you should have a better idea of what to look out for in fiction texts, which rules should be enforced and which ones a fiction author might bend or even break, and the general constraints within which a fiction copyeditor needs to work.

This course is ideal for you if:

  • you have never edited fiction but are considering adding it to your scope of work
  • you have edited a little fiction but would like some additional guidance
  • you have edited some fiction and would like to consolidate your experience and existing knowledge and skills.

What the course will teach you

This introductory course offers an overview of fiction copyediting. By the time you’ve completed this training, you’ll have a basic understanding of:

  • what to look out for
  • what rules should be enforced and what rules a fiction author might bend or break
  • the differences between copyediting and substantive editing fiction
  • the areas unique to fiction – plot, voice, point of view, dialogue and narrative consistency
  • how to assess a manuscript
  • how to work on a text, critiques, synopses and blurbs

Course content

Unit 1: Introduction

  • Preliminaries

  • Liaising with the author and ways of working

Unit 2: The story

  • Definitions: premise, theme and plot types

  • Getting started

  • The plot: the beginning, middle and end

  • Conclusions

Unit 3: Author’s voice and style

  • Voice

  • Style

Unit 4: Points of view

  • Different points of view

  • First person

  • Third-person limited

  • Third-person omniscient

Unit 5: Dialogue

  • Punctuation and layout

  • Realism and rhythm

Unit 6: Consistency

  • Plot, timeline and setting

  • Character

  • Language

  • Series

Unit 7: Putting it all together

  • Critiques

  • Synopses and blurbs

Unit 8: Final exercise

Assess your own work

What skills and tools do you need?

This course follows British English spelling, grammar and punctuation conventions in the main. You’ll also need:

  • basic copyediting knowledge
  • fluency in English
  • a knowledge of English grammar
  • familiarity with the functions of word processing programs – this course assumes use of MS Word (Office 365).


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Prices, timescales and upgrade points

  • Member: £170 + VAT
  • Non-member: £280 + VAT
  • Access to course: 6 months
  • Approximate study time to complete: 30–35 hours
  • CIEP upgrade points: 4


Key course features

Structured training

Structured units cover a range of topics relevant to your chosen course.

Self-paced learning

With our e-learning courses, learn when you want at a pace that’s convenient for you.

Training portal

Access your course via our user-friendly online training portal. All e-learning courses are accessible through the portal for six months from the date of enrolment.

Extra help

Additional tutor support is available on our self-assessed courses for a small fee.

Self-assessed exercises

Hone your skills with self-assessed exercises and quizzes, and mark your own work against model answers.


Download, print and keep a certificate of completion once you’ve finished your course so you can demonstrate your commitment to CPD.
Introduction to Fiction Editing went deeper than I expected it to, and is a really good introduction for people who are looking to switch over, or for a more specific grounding in fiction, which is notoriously flexible when it comes to the rules.



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