The Keys to Effective Editing

The Keys to Effective Editing

Learn the essential skills and resources you will need to become a successful and confident copyeditor. This course provides the fundamentals of top-notch editing for both fiction and nonfiction.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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  • Requirements
  • Instructor
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Ask any published writer and you will hear that a good editor is not just helpful, but essential. If you aspire to be an editor, this copyediting course will teach you the fundamentals of top-notch editing for both fiction and nonfiction. If you're already working as an editor, you will not only brush up on your skills, but will also learn about recent advances in your chosen profession. If you're a writer, you will learn essential self-editing tools to give your manuscripts the professional look that publishers like to see.

From the language of editing to grammar, punctuation, and syntax to the all-important relationships between editor, author, and publisher, every facet of editing will be explored in this copyeditor course. Online editing is gaining popularity; its complexities will be unraveled and its advantages and pitfalls explored. Can you make a living as an editor? Tips and resources for finding work will be addressed at length. When you finish with this course, you will feel confident enough to tackle even the most complex of manuscripts.


Have you ever wondered just what editors do with writers' manuscripts? In this first lesson, you will find out. You will learn about the different types of editors—copy editors, acquisition editors, developmental editors, production editors, and more—and exactly what their jobs entail.

If you've ever seen a document that an editor has marked up, you probably wondered what all those symbols meant. This lesson focuses on traditional copy editors' marks and how to use them. By the end of the lesson, you will have a solid foundation for editing both on a paper manuscript and on-screen.

Editors must focus on many details to produce a final manuscript that's as error-free as possible. This lesson covers the tools used to catch inconsistencies in spelling, capitalization, and more. By the end of the lesson, you will have a clear understanding of what tools you need to edit effectively and efficiently.

This lesson will offer a refresher on the basics of grammar and punctuation as well as reveal some of the more common related problems that arise in writing. You will come away with a solid understanding of the basic grammar principles as they apply to copyediting.

This lesson takes you into the world of spelling, capitalization, and numbers. Many people are surprised to learn that there are actually rules governing how words are spelled and capitalized, and whether numbers should be spelled out or in digit form.

This lesson explores all the writing pitfalls that can leave readers in a state of confusion. You will learn to recognize and fix garbled syntax, mixed metaphors, nominals, redundancies, and much more. You will also learn how to untangle overly wordy sentences and create parallel structure.

When is it appropriate to use an abbreviation? When should you hyphenate words? Most people have a general knowledge of abbreviations and hyphens, but when it comes time to actually use them, they can be mystifying. This lesson examines the rules that guide their use.

In this lesson, you will learn how to edit such peripheral material as tables, charts, photos, and captions. If you've ever seen a caption that didn't fit the photo it was describing, you will understand the need for this extra scrutiny. You will learn the function of the foreword, table of contents, index, and many more.

Every novel is different, and a good fiction editor will help guide the author to take the story where it wants to go. This lesson defines narrative summary, exposition, point of view, and character arcs. By the end of the lesson, you should have the necessary tools to tackle fiction editing.

This lesson examines how to keep life harmonious within the author-editor-publisher relationship. Writers will be able to see things from the editor's perspective, and editors will learn how it feels to be in the author's shoes. Both of you will gain insight as well as a good brush-up of your people skills.

After 10 lessons of absorbing the technical elements of editing, it's time to have some fun. This lesson explores the intricacies, inconsistencies, and irregularities in the English language. You will learn about oddball words and phrases, the dos and don'ts of usage, and why language is like a puzzle.

This might be the most important lesson of all. In this lesson, you will learn how to find work as an editor. Whether you want to begin a freelance career or are interested in a staff position, all the help and advice you will need to achieve your goals is in this lesson.



Although this course will teach English grammar, punctuation, and style, you must be fluent in English and have a better-than-average spelling ability.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Jennifer Della'Zanna

Jennifer Della'Zanna is a freelance writer and editor who has published over 50 articles for magazines and websites on topics as diverse as firearms, movies, and healthcare. She has developed several online courses and continues to edit and revise courses and textbooks. She also has a freelance editing business and performs line editing, copy editing, and proofreading for both nonfiction and fiction authors and publishers.

Jennifer is a novelist and short story writer who loves to combine history, mythology, fantasy, and romance in her fiction. Her undergraduate degree is in History, German, and Classical/Koinae Greek, and she holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Jennifer is a member of the Maryland Writer's Association, the Historical Novel Society, the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Editorial Freelancers Association, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, and ACES: The Society for Editing.


I really enjoyed taking this course. I have never taken a communication course before and I have learned valuable lessons, not only in how to communicate with others, but also how to be cognizant of my own thoughts and mannerisms. I have noticed a significant difference in conversing when I have applied what I have learned in these lessons. One of my favorite topics was how to build and improve rapport and how the three learning styles (kinesthetic, auditory, and visual) impact rapport. I will continue to practice what I have learned, as this will not only be advantageous in my future career as a healthcare professional, but in all other aspects of my life. Thank you for your guidance and this class!

As an aspiring writer and editor, I felt this course was extremely helpful. I now have the tools and the confidence to jump-start my career. Thanks, Jackie, for your amusing anecdotes and excellent instruction.

Every aspiring writer should take this course. It was helpful on many levels. I have recommended it to other writer friends.

Excellent and practical course with an interesting presentation of the material. I would definitely recommend this course to others.

I enjoyed this course. The instructor's writing style was clear and interesting. I feel that I have learned more about the world of editing and that I have gained confidence in my abilities to proofread and edit at work.

I found this course very useful because it was easy to incorporate what I learned into my daily projects and responsibilities.

There is so much to be learned about editing. Jackie did a terrific job covering the material. This was a wonderful investment of my time.

This class was great. I liked the way it was useful to both aspiring editors and to writers. I was a bit nervous taking a class after so many years out of school, but Jacquelyn Landis made it both fun and informative. I was comfortable after the first lesson and I feel that I really learned a lot.

I am in the executive secretary/admin assistant support field. This class has broadened my knowledge in several areas. Things I should have learned in my youth have just registered with me. I have more confidence in my abilities and Ms. Landis has taught me how to access tools for growth and research in the writing field. I will always remember this class and the doors it has opened for me.

I learned so much from this course. The instructor made the entire learning process enjoyable and fun. She has a genuine gift in presenting interesting coursework and knows how to effectively lessen a student's fear. Teaching is a gift she possesses.

This class was well worth my time. I printed out all the lessons and quizzes and put them in a 3-ring binder to use as a reference tool. Jacquelyn Landis has a rare combination of technical expertise and gracious style that allows her to be highly effective in teaching the intricacies of the English language. This course should be mandatory for all high school freshmen.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9235
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: kee