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The Keys to Effective Editing

$97.00 (USD)

Offered in partnership with Los Angeles Valley College choose another school



A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!

How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

Week 1
Lesson 01 - What Editors Do

Have you ever wondered just what editors do with writers' manuscripts? In this first lesson, you'll find out. You'll learn about the different types of editors—copy editors, acquisition editors, developmental editors, production editors, and more—and exactly what their jobs entail. Because this course focuses on copy editors, we'll explore the three levels of copyediting: light, medium, and heavy. Finally, you'll be introduced to five immutable laws of editing designed to make your job as a writer or an editor much easier.

Lesson 02 - The Mechanics of Copyediting

If you've ever seen a document that an editor has marked up, you probably wondered what all those funny-looking marks and symbols meant. In today's lesson, I'll reveal the mystery. I'll display and define the traditional copy editors' marks, and you'll learn to use them as a sort of shorthand to fix errors. Then we'll turn to electronic editing and all the various programs you can use to edit on-screen, including how to edit PDF documents. By the end of the lesson, you will have a solid foundation for editing both on a paper manuscript and on-screen.

Week 2
Lesson 03 - Tools to Increase Accuracy
Editors must focus on many details to produce a final manuscript that's as error-free as possible. So in this lesson, you'll learn about the tools we use to catch inconsistencies in spelling, capitalization, numbers, and more. We'll discuss reference books, style manuals, style sheets, and final checklists, all of which editors use daily. By the end of the lesson, you'll have a clear understanding of what tools you need to edit effectively and efficiently.
Lesson 04 - Grammar and Punctuation
Editors and writers must deal with grammar and punctuation in every sentence. Today's 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.
Week 3
Lesson 05 - Spelling, Capitalization, and Numbers
Today's lesson will take 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. You'll learn not only the rules but also the exceptions. The benefit of knowing all the variations is that you'll create consistency in your work, and your editing or writing will shine.
Lesson 06 - Syntax and Style
Today we'll explore all the writing pitfalls that can leave readers in a state of confusion. You'll learn to recognize and fix garbled syntax, mixed metaphors, nominals, redundancies, and much more. You'll also learn how to untangle overly wordy sentences, how to eliminate sexism, and how to create parallel structure. One of your goals as an editor or a writer is to produce clarity. This lesson will put you firmly on the path to achieving that goal.
Week 4
Lesson 07 - Abbreviations and Hyphens, Bibliographies and Copyright Law

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. Today, we'll examine the rules that guide their use. Then we'll dig into a less-glamorous but critical part of a manuscript: referencing quoted material. We'll close the lesson with a discussion of copyright law, the basics of which every editor and writer should be aware.

Lesson 08 - Photos and Tables, Front and Back Matter
Manuscripts are much more than just text. In this lesson, you'll 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'll understand the need for this extra scrutiny. Next, you'll learn all about the components of a book that come before and after the text, namely, the front and back matter. You'll learn the function of parts such as the foreword, the table of contents, the index, and many more.
Week 5
Lesson 09 - Fiction Editing
Today we'll focus on fiction editing. It requires a few more skills than nonfiction editing does, the most important of which is the ability to analyze story problems. Every novel is different, and a good fiction editor will help guide the author to take the story where it wants to go. In this lesson, we'll define narrative summary, exposition, point of view, and character arcs. We'll also explore how to create effective dialogue and look at the many fiction genres. By the end of the lesson, you should have the necessary tools to tackle fiction editing.
Lesson 10 - The Editor-Author-Publisher Relationship
The relationship between an author and an editor is tricky at best. Throw a publisher into the works, and you have the potential for a powder keg of emotions. In today's lesson, we'll examine 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.
Week 6
Lesson 11 - Word Usage
After 10 lessons of absorbing the technical elements of editing, it's time to have some fun. Today, we'll home in on the intricacies, inconsistencies, and irregularities in the English language. These are the things that defy classification but still are important to know. You'll learn about oddball words and phrases, the dos and don'ts of usage, and the many ways in which language is like a puzzle that's never finished.
Lesson 12 - Finding Work as an Editor
This might be the most important lesson of all. Today, 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'll need to achieve your goals is in this lesson. You'll also learn some basic business practices that will make your life as an editor easy.




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