Starts 7 August 2017. Take your first draft and edit it to glory.

You know what makes great writing? Really great editing. The Writers’ HQ online creative editing course will give you tools and techniques to take you step-by-step through deconstructing your work and rebuilding it, taking it from ‘hmm this is okay’ and elevating it to ‘aah this is amazing!’.

We get it. You’d rather cut your own hand off than get down to editing your work. But you have to do it because otherwise what was the point of slogging it out through the first draft?

Whether you’re contemplating a new project or at the end of a 150,000 word manuscript, you need to know how to venture into the magical world of redrafting and editing. Guess what? We can help! Learn how to transform a rough, vulnerable, wibbly-shaped writing project into a majestic beast of a finished manuscript.

Our approach to editing isn’t just about correcting typos and tweaking sentence structure (though we do cover the proofreading process too) – this is an elbows-deep practical method of deconstruction and reconstruction to help you develop your story’s structure, narrative and characterisation right down to its fundamentals.

When it comes to writing, one size does NOT fit all, so we’ll give you a tonne of editing options and techniques to suit your particular story. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss and brainstorm your plot with your tutors and a small group of writers throughout the course, so you won’t be going it alone. And by the end of the six weeks you’ll emerge triumphant with a solid, detailed outline plan for the redrafting process and all the resources you need to get your manuscript to the submission stage.

NOTE: You DON’T need to have done Plotstormers to take this course.


Learn how to deconstruct your story and edit the ever-loving crap out it without wanting to hide under a rock.

Learn how to put it back together again in a better, shinier, more awesome way.

Take your first draft and bash it into submission.


Emerge triumphant with a detailed, watertight plan for redrafting your story. Plus, a tonne of tools, tricks, tips and techniques for editing to suit whatever kinda writer you happen to be.


  • Help and advice from award-winning authors
  • Weekly online meetups with your course tutor
  • To join our LOVELY little online community to support you through editing
  • Help finding a beta reader
  • To finally get going with your next draft and peer off into the distance to see the finishing line


Course Curriculum

Week 0: Buckle up, Buttercup. We’re going EDITING
Read: So you’ve written a first draft. What the hell do you do now? FREE 00:15:00
50,000 words in the bag? Pat yourself on the back. And breathe.
Video: Vanessa Gebbie gives sage advice about editing FREE 00:05:00
Watch the Geb-a-tron and then do what she says.
Read: Edit like a boss FREE 00:10:00
How do you turn a zero draft into a proper first draft, and then a second, third, fourth, gazzilionth draft?
Exercise: Whassit all about? FREE 01:00:00
The work only gets done when you do the work.
Week 1: What's Your Story?
Read: The elevator pitch 00:30:00
“It’s like Jaws in space”
Exercise: What’s your story actually about anyway? 00:20:00
Break your story into itty bitty pieces and look at the whole dang thing at a conceptual level – sounds scary? Nahhh – it’s liberating, trust us.
Discuss: Pitch the forum 01:00:00
Learning by doing, man. LEARNING BY DOING.
Exercise: Let’s expand this mothersucker 01:00:00
Maybe your central conflict changes; maybe your protag’s goal shifts. How many other little elevator pitches can you add to layer up your story? BOOM: these are your subplots
Video: Whose story is this? 00:30:00
A quick check in: is this a story you *should* be telling?
Week 2: Who dat? What they doin’?
Read: In which your character takes a long hard look at themselves 00:30:00
Characters gotta change, develop and learn something, otherwise what’s the point? What drives them? What’s standing in their way?
Exercise: Ch-ch-changes 01:00:00
Every step they take, every move they make... your protag should be DEVELOPING.
Video: Character vs plot 00:05:00
Exercise: Tracing arcs 01:00:00
All the ups, downs, revelations, betrayals, losses, developments, and CHANGES.
Discuss: The ultimate transformation 00:45:00
In which your protagonist becomes a beauuuuuutiful butterfly.
Week 3: Break it down, baby
Read: Break away from your zero draft 00:30:00
Drape it in flowers, set it on fire and push it out to sea. Here's how.
Exercise: Summaries are your friend 01:00:00
Here's where the work really begins
Video: Death of a thousand cuts 00:05:00
Listen to the professionals
Exercise: Putting your summary to work 01:00:00
Divide and conquer!
Discuss: What’s your problem, dude? 01:00:00
Sorting the good shit from the shit-shit.
Week 4: Back to basics
Read: Revisiting the three act structure 01:00:00
Use old school plotting techniques to re-plan your story – with the added benefit of having an actual draft to work with.
Exercise: What shape is your story? 00:45:00
Pear shaped? Apple? Like the ArcelorMittal Orbit?
Video: Sticking points 00:15:00
Saggy middles, flaccid beginnings, premature climax... Everyone's got a weakness.
Read: The point of no return 00:45:00
No turning back now. ONWARD!
Discuss: What if? 00:45:00
We can help! Use the hive mind.
Exercise: Brand new draft, baby! 01:00:00
Dancing bananas, it's time to start afresh!
Read: Finding your voice 01:00:00
You've got yourself a story, now work out how to tell it.
Exercise: Filling holes 01:00:00
New words new words new words new words!
Discuss: A whole new world 00:20:00
Are you ready for this?
Video: One draft does not a book make 00:15:00
Advice on redrafting from the experts
Week 6: Edit like a BAWSSSSS
Read: How to tackle the big bad edit 01:00:00
The first of a bunch of redrafting techniques that sound like terrible sex positions: the reverse pyramid; the multiple sweep; the elevator pitch; the hurdle; the placemarker… Get jiggy with it.
Exercise: Scene by scene 00:45:00
How to spring clean in small chunks to keep tension, pace, characterisation and all the other lovely bits.
Read: Big sweeps 00:45:00
You gotta check the big picture too. Here's how.
Read: Tips and tricks 00:45:00
PANIC! Cram everything else we know in here!
Discuss: Beta beta beta 00:20:00
And now.... the end is near...

Course Reviews


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Book your place nowCOURSE STARTS ON August 7, 20178 SEATS LEFT
  • £140.00
  • August 7, 2017STARTS ON
  • 6 Weeks
  • 20 SEATS


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Course Reviews

  • Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back

    Everything you need it to be. And more. 5

    If you think you've done editing courses before, so you don't need to do another one, then you're completely and utterly wrong. This course takes your book by the short and curlies and makes it scream for it's mamma. Because this course isn't your average 'let's look at some of your prose & pretty it up' kinda course, it's a RIP IT TO PIECES & GIVE IT A FULL BODY SEARCH kinda course. Sound brutal? It is. Your brains will ooze out of your ears. But you won't regret it. Not one bit. Trust me. By the time you're done, you will know exactly what you need to do to your book to get it to tell the story you want it to tell. What more can you ask?
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  • Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back

    Best thing ever... 5

    ...well, the best thing ever editing-wise. My novel's been stuck in the doldrums for ages and I was losing heart, knowing it wasn't right, but not knowing how to identify what was wrong, far less having a clue as to how to go about fixing it. But now I do, and that's really exciting and invigorating. The course is clearly laid out in small, bite-sized chunks. It's all really well signposted, so you know what you need to do every week, why you need to do it, and how to do it. It's laid out in a logical order. It takes things one step at a time. It's completely bargainous. Jo and Sarah are friendly and down-to-earth and they explain things in the way you would talk to your friends down the pub and not as if you're in a university lecture. I really can't fault the course, nor can I recommend it enough.
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    Annie Kirby
  • Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back

    A life-saver 5

    I had done some writing courses before, heard numerous writers say that the real work begins with rewriting and editing but I had no idea how to approach my novel in order to deconstruct and rebuild it (and I know some writers who have done an MA in writing fiction and haven't got more of a clue!). This course was invaluable, full of practical ways to look at your story differently and very get-down-to-it exercises. Besides I also met some lovely friends along the way (other course students) and the input we gave each other was another fantastic aspect of the course. Highly recommended!
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  • Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back

    Do you even edit? Well, do ya? 5

    5 stars, natch! So, so, so much great advice, tips, tools and methods for editing - it will take me 6 months to work through everything, but it will make this book much stronger than anything I've written before! If you're stuck in the slush pile and feel your book needs one more edit OR you're just finishing your first draft OR anywhere in between, then do this course. It's the Jedi Temple you have always sought, but your midichlorian levels never allowed you access, well here you get full access to a whole heap of mind tricks that will fool even Jabba! So thanks ladies, once more, I bow to your Jedi greatness. One day this Padawan will hopefully become an editing master...
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    Stuart White
  • Plotstormers II: The Editing Strikes Back

    Gives plentiful food for thought 5

    Loved this course. Love, love, love. And also hated. But only because it made me realise how much damn editing my book needed. The information is plentiful, the HQ admin peeps are brilliant and they really know their stuff. I feel like it's given me the leg up I needed to really push through and get this beast fixed.
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