How to edit and assess your manuscript - getting from first draft to finishing your book

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list.

You have just finished the first draft of your manuscript and you are feeling mighty pleased with yourself. And so you should. It’s no mean feat writing between 70,000 and 140,000 words of a novel or non-fiction book. You are to be congratulated.

But… what’s important for you to realise is that you are still much nearer the beginning of the process of writing your book than you are to the end. Your first draft is no more than that: a first draft. You have more drafts to work through and you are at least two drafts away from maybe thinking about getting a qualified assessor to assess your manuscript.

So what happens in this murky hinterland between completing your first draft and perhaps getting your manuscript assessed before sending it off to a literary agent or publisher? John Harman’s fast-paced, interactive workshop will take you through how to edit your first and subsequent drafts and how to self-assess your manuscript.

This course will cover:

  • Getting the first draft down quickly: 'Capturing the Stone'
  • Setting deadlines and word-counts
  • The pitfalls of the ‘organic’ approach to the first draft
  • The benefits of a detailed synopsis
  • The first draft as your best antidote to writer’s block.
  • The three major areas of editing: Substantive Editing;
  • Copy Editing; Proofreading
  • Testing the story and narrative structure
  • Adding material
  • Deleting material – 'killing your children'
  • Changing Point of View (POV)
  • Editing after the Second or Third Draft
  • The areas of self-assessment for the novel: for non-fiction
  • Copy editing – writers can only do so much editing of their own work; what they can do they should do.
  • How do you know when your manuscript is ready?
  • Does your manuscript need an assessment?
  • When might you need an outside assessment? Is it worth it?

This course will be held at The University Club of Western Australia.

Lunch will be provided and is included in the cost.

If you have any special dietary requirements please email our staff on as soon as possible once you have booked. Your early notice is appreciated and assists us in meeting your dietary requirements.

In order for you to get the most out of this workshop, the facilitator, John Harman, has asked that you bring along an existing piece (or pieces) of your writing so that you may have some hands-on experience of applying some of the editing concepts you’ll be learning during the day.
The manuscript you bring can be an early draft of a novel, or a short story or a work of non-fiction. It needs to be a minimum 500 words or between four and six pages and double spaced in a twelve point font to enable clear editing.
John has stressed that no one else will be seeing your editing. This self-editing exercise is for your own benefit and for your eyes only.