On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

NEW ONLINE WORKSHOP: How to Edit Your Own Work

New Online Workshop Starting in May…

Kris and I get the most questions, all good questions, about the process of editing your own work. And honestly, there is no easy or completely right answer for everyone. But there are hundreds of ways, one of which will be right for you.

Between writing into the dark and following Heinlein’s Rules, how do you make sure your work is what you want, clean enough for readers to not notice any problems?

How can you edit without the deadly rewriting that kills voice and all originality?

Those are just a couple of the questions we get in one form or another, including how to find copyeditors, first readers, and so on.

Basically, how to maintain control over your own work and yet get it clean. That is what every smart writer is looking to do these days.

So finally, after much hesitation (as you might imagine), we put it all together in a very intense and informative six week online workshop to help all levels of writers.


If you are just starting off or are an experienced professional wondering how to spend less time on the editing process, this workshop will help you.

Here are just some of the areas we are going to cover.

— The process. How to write cleaner copy right from the start.
— Do’s and Don’ts of finding help.
— The finding and feeding and care of copyeditors. What to look for and how to talk with them.
— The finding and feeding and care of first readers. Again, what to tell them you are looking for and what you are not looking for.
— How to edit in creative voice. Yes, this includes cycling and there are tricks.
— How to keep your voice in your work. And recognize when you are taking it out.
— How to edit without breaking Heinlein’s Rules of never rewriting.
— How to write into the dark, without outline, and still create a process that is clean.
— How to deal with audience and reader feedback.

At least a hundred tricks and techniques of professional writers in this area. Not kidding (we will try to get to that number over the six weeks). We have collected a lot of information about not only how we do it, but how other writers do this. It is a puzzling area for many writers and an area writers often stumble into trouble.

And it is a huge area that covers a lot of ground. This is not a how-to-rewrite workshop. This is how to edit your own work before getting it to readers. If you do not understand the difference, you really need this workshop.

Longer term writers have developed ways that work and keep voice and story in place while making sure the typing and manuscript is as clean as it can be for readers.

Writers often have their stories killed and their voice taken out by simply trying to clean up their manuscript. We will teach you how to avoid those critical mistakes. And help you find a way that other professionals use that will work for you.

More than likely this will be our most intensive information workshop yet.

Any questions, feel free to write me. General workshop information is under the Online Workshop tab above or at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com


    • dwsmith

      Thanks, we think it will be if it gets off the ground. No one seems to be much interested at the moment.

      • Chong Go

        Arrgh. That’s what I was a little afraid of. People don’t realize how skilled editing can be, and often seem to mistake it for proofreading. And the chance to learn from people who’ve done that at a very professional level, hello. Kris won the Hugo for editing, for Pete’s sake. To edit *and keep the voice,* that is a big deal. Schedule-wise, the July workshop fits best, but I will definitely shoehorn May in if that’s how I can attend this one.

  • Patrick R

    Hi Dean

    Is the focus of the workshop less on the writer casting an eye over the text (to minimum degree…or more) and more on setting up the professional support network to function as the writer wishes, on a good & sustainable relationship basis.

    i.e. – how you edit your own work is that YOU do not, but instead you set up repeatable systems built on relationships for OTHERS to do what you want done, and how?

    Then, if so, it is to know the what/how of things @ the writing, and degrees of them, and so be informed on building the professional support team (incl the what/how of these relationships)?



    • dwsmith

      Patrick, yes. Honestly, it will cover all of what you said, from knowing when and how to go over your own work to building relationships you can trust and how to even train another person with your work. That is one of the hardest things. You have to know what you want and need before you can tell another person and 95% of writers don’t or think they do and are actually hurting their own work.

      Workshop covers all aspects of that. Including how to save time in this modern world in this area. And to stop worrying about it so much, but yet make sure you get it right at the same time.

      So yes, as I said, it will cover everything about this area, which is the only way Kris and I could figure out how to even try to tackle this topic.

      But again, not much interest so far. So we shall see if it flies. We often have workshops that never get off the ground.

      • Patrick R

        Hi Dean
        Wondering about your observation on take-up. Do you think many (‘young’, in word-volume terms) writers want to stay as individuals, getting to grips with all things as solo operators? That this may sound like building teams, costs, and organisation that they might not be ready for? Focus still heavily on their own craft..

        • dwsmith

          This is a craft workshop, where craft combines over into some business aspects. Maybe that’s the problem. But even a person writing alone and sending things to magazines should have a first reader. And should be able to understand how to make their work as clean as possible without taking voice and originality out of it.

  • Sheila

    That sounds like a good one, which I’d take if I had the money. Maybe if it doesn’t get enough interest for a workshop, you’d consider doing a book? I could beg, borrow or steal enough money for a good book on this.

  • Sheila

    I feel like I should take this. But I have to admit, my hesitation is that I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be getting. I think a lot of us don’t really understand the difference between re-writing and editing and just making a mess of things. I understand the need to always write in creative voice. I even understand that I write better when I don’t ‘polish’ so much (because Dean told me so in the Depth workshop). And while I would love to be able to write clean draft the first time that is a skill level I have yet to reach. I am about to embark on re-drafting a very messy first draft of a novel. So, this class is exactly what I should be taking, right?

        • Sheila

          Just wanted to note that this is a different Sheila (hey there!). I haven’t taken any of the workshops, so while I was a little surprised — and wondering if I’d written something so totally off for me — it is obviously not me. Well, obvious to me, at least. LOL

  • Scott Gordon

    For me personally, this is the most important course you’ve offered thus far. What should I edit? What should I leave alone? The lessons learned from this workshop will save me countless hours. And then there’s that little thing called fun. No doubt it will help me bring more of it to my writing sessions.

    • dwsmith

      That is exactly our hope, Scott. To help people know what to leave alone and to save hours and have more fun. Exactly. Thanks!