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Self Editing Fiction

October 23 @ 7:00 pm November 27 @ 9:00 pm

Self Editing Fiction

This is one of the best courses I have ever had the pleasure to take. It is so refreshing to be guided with real kindness and generosity of spirit through a daunting part of the writing process. When you are taught to evaluate your own writing, rather than feeding you information, the result is growth of confidence and a sense of resilience. I truly recommend this course.”

Self Editing Fiction participant Spring 2024

Editing is a fundamental tool in the writer’s arsenal, but how do we edit our own writing effectively? How might we apply traditional editing principles to increase our chances of success if we aim to submit our writing to agents or publishers, or direct to market? Join Self Editing Fiction and hone your skills with the UK’s longest-standing editing consultancy, alongside fellow writers in a supportive environment.

Using a mixture of theory, close reading of published texts, and practical exercises, this TLC Course, led by author and editor Jon Barton, will take you through the fundamentals of self-editing for fiction. We draw on TLC’s own Editing Principles, developed over three decades of work with writers, and also take into consideration international storytelling perspectives.

“The TLC Self Editing course was so very useful. Jon was brilliant. The content and delivery has really given me the confidence to be bold in my editing. I got straight to it and am busy totally restructuring the first quarter of my novel for submission. I was really struggling to be objective with it before, so the course has really made a difference to how I now approach editing my own work.”

Self Editing Fiction participant Autumn 2023


✅6 weeks
✅12 hours of live teaching, online
✅One-to-one for every student
✅A suite of digital resources
✅A reading list for your ongoing practice
✅Maximum 12 writers per group
✅Teaching draws on TLC’s Ethical Editing principles, used by publishers

Dates: Wednesdays: 23rd October; 30th October; 6th November; 13th November; 20th November; 27th November

Times: 7-9pm (UK time)

“I’ll be continuing with the draft I’m working on with a concrete belief in my editing skills – while also having really useful notes to refer to. Thank you!”

Self Editing: Fiction participant 2023

How it works

This six-session course will be offered online via Zoom. All sessions will be live, and we kindly ask you to ensure you can attend sessions and participate fully. A capacity limit of 12 writers per TLC Course allows for maximum interaction per cohort. Over a series of two-hour workshops, we will cover writing craft and elements of technique including voice, character, plot and genre, and consider how each of these can be approached and finessed when editing a full length of work of fiction. A full Curriculum can be found below.

All students will get the opportunity for a 30 minute one-to-one with the course tutor, and will also receive one year’s free access to TLC’s Being A Writer platform, worth £144. Graduating students will be issued with a certificate of completion, and you will have the option to access discounts on any of TLC’s professional editing and mentoring services.

To optimise your time and to help you get the most value out of this course, we will not be asking you to give peer feedback, and instead focus on teaching you the practical nuts and bolts of self-editing that you can carry forward into your practice and writing life.

This course is suitable for writers with novels in progress and complete first drafts. You will be able to make connections and discuss your projects with other writers in small breakout groups, and a reading list will be provided to help you continue to engage with the topics covered during the sessions and apply them to your own writing, beyond the course. Each session has its own take-home resource, yours to keep, and we will create individualised Ultimate Editing Checklists, adding to these each week.



The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking “Get Tickets” will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Self Editing Fiction
Concessionary Ticket
£ 399.00 +Vat
4 available
Self Editing Fiction
Standard Ticket
£ 450.00 +Vat
6 available

More about this TLC Course

Your Tutor

Jon Barton is a novelist and creative writing tutor, and is also a TLC Editor. Jon studied for an MA in Dramaturgy and Script Development at the University of Exeter and is an alumnus of Curtis Brown Creative. He teaches screenwriting for young people at Iconic Steps, The Princes Trust, and Lambeth Adult Learning. He also teaches fiction writing for City Lit and City Academy. Jon works freelance as a script editor for various independent filmmakers, with a focus on genre storytelling. As a playwright, Jon has been shortlisted for the Theatre503 International Playwriting Prize and for Papatango. His plays have toured venues across the UK. His TV credits include episodes of Holby City. He is a member of BAFTA and co-writes with Isaac Tomiczek as Barton/Tomiczek. Jon’s debut novel, Dive, was published by Joffe Books in 2023.

Course Curriculum

Session 1Introduction to Editing

What is editing? An exploration into the stages of professional editing and the chance to take stock of where we are, and identify key challenges.

What do we mean by self-editing? How to approach self-editing with curiosity and creativity, to unlock your writing’s fullest potential.

Session 2Crafting Your Plot

What is plot? The theoretical and historical context of the relationship between plot and story, including international and neurodiverse perspectives to widen our understanding of cultural variances in storytelling styles, with examples.

How do we know if our plot is working? Practical exercises will help us explore our best approach to perfecting a plot, according to our own ambitions and styles.

Session 3Approaches to Character 

From sacred flaws to the three dimensions of character, we’ll recontextualise established theory into actionable story beats. There will be space to test our characters against these theories.

Examples from published texts act as a springboard to an inspiring group exercise to explore how a character might behave in response to a range of stimuli. 

Session 4Honing Your Voice

A series of examples provide a way to interrogate the conscious stylistic choices writers make, and how these demonstrate a compelling and unique writing voice.

Turning the lens inward, we consider when and how to bend the rules to suit our voice and make our stories come alive in the reader’s mind in new and exciting ways.

Session 5Consider Your Genre

What is ‘the market’ and (how) does it apply to how we write and self-edit our work? We look at current publishing trends, including a range of synopses and author bios, to consider how writing is pitched within a commercial context, and what we can learn from this, including what to do when we want to challenge the status quo.

Focusing on ‘the reader’, we discover how to edit our work in a way that feels truthful to our intentions, but mindful of the context we are writing in.

Session 6Am I Ready?

In this final session, we take a practical look at the specific techniques writers can absorb or adapt into their editing process, and how to apply them to your own works in progress in the most effective and impactful way.

We will create a toolkit that covers macro and micro issues of self-editing, from plot and character to questions of cultural authenticity and internal bias, equipping you with an actionable plan for editing writing that showcases your unique writing voice.

Being A Writer members get 15% off this course. A coupon code will be emailed to all members. If you did not receive your coupon code, please email us at


Format: Zoom. A stable internet connection is recommended. Video participation is encouraged. All sessions include short comfort breaks. Taught sessions include small break-out groups in the second half, for discussion and implementation of learning.

Captions: Automated ( Live Transcript available.

Materials: Materials can be made available in advance or after the session on request. Any shared screens will be audio-described by the tutor. No flashing images will be used at any time.

Bursaries: 1x full bursary available, 1x 50% bursary available. Please apply with a short covering letter telling us why you are applying to  with the subject header ‘Bursary [Full/50%], Self Editing FICTION’ by no later than 9am September 30th.

Other: We invite any access requirements not covered here to be sent to us at least 10 business days clear of the start date by email to 

£399.00 – £450.00

0203 751 0757 (please dial extension 800)

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