Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory – Course Review

Sophie Playle

Deborah Gray is just starting out as a freelance editor and recently completed the tutored version of Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory, a Liminal Pages training course. This is her review.

I’m happy to have completed this course!

I looked at a few different course options before deciding upon this one.

I felt the price was reasonable, and the timing of the Zoom discussions worked out quite well for me due to it being evening in my time zone, allowing me to get my young children off to bed first!

One of the reasons I chose the course was the flexibility of being able to study around family and work commitments.

I also appreciated the transparency on the Liminal Pages website of what exactly would be covered in the course, the number of assignments, what to expect etc.

I found the course valuable in that the focus was specifically on developmental editing for freelancers wanting to concentrate on this form of editing. Some of the other courses I viewed only offered developmental editing as one small section amongst other broader topics covered within publishing/editing.

The theory provided was a great foundation.

The course plugged gaps in my knowledge while reinforcing some previous knowledge.

Sometimes when I encountered slightly different terminology, or a certain way information had been explained in the modules, I’d get these ‘aha’ moments where important theory would click into place!

The course platform was easy to access.

I liked that each unit had both a video and written text option for the material. Being a visual learner, I tended to read over the information to best absorb it.

Having a PDF for each of the modules, the assignment and reading extracts all in a section at the start of the modules was super helpful.

As a bonus, I liked the buttons allowing you to select when you had completed reading each unit within the modules to be able to keep track of where you were up to.

Communication was excellent throughout! And the assignments were pitched at the right level for me.

I was able to be challenged while applying what I learnt in the modules. It was also nice to be able to discuss the upcoming assignments with everyone in the Zoom chats.

I really enjoyed the variety of the assignments. I particularly appreciated being able to take a look at how character arc interweaves with plot structure in the fourth assignment.

The assignment feedback helped me to know whether I was on the right track. Feedback was specific, and I appreciated the summary provided at the end as well.

The genres for the set readings were diverse and helped introduce me to books I may not have been familiar with before the course.

The modules provided an excellent coverage of the essentials.

The course is geared towards ultimately being able to provide a service to clients (if you aren’t doing so already). There were times I would have liked to have delved a little deeper into some topics. However, I understand this would have made for a much longer course!

The additional reading and resources list given at the end was great for showing students where to complete further study, as applicable to them.

I loved hearing everyone’s thoughts on the set readings in the group discussions.

There was a great diversity in the group, and a bonus was gaining insights into possible things an editor may encounter when working with clients.

Each session I came away feeling like I learnt something new and there was a supportive culture to ask questions or share opinions relevant to the modules.

Having the group discussions fall between the release of a new module and the assignment due dates I found made the course quite manageable to complete.

I’m sad it’s finished!

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A big thank you to Debbie for her insights!

If you’re interested in doing this course, there are two versions available: the tutored version (which is the version Debbie is talking about here) and the self-study version.

Find out more.

Sophie Playleis a professional fiction editor. She specialises in developmental editing, critiquing and copy-editing, and loves working with authors and publishers who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction are her genres of choice. She's an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and has a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway, University of London. Find out more:

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