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The First Edit -- Finding and Fixing Your Writing Errors

Facilitator:  Sandra Kischuk

Workshop Syllabus

Could you do your own first edit? Why would you want to? Learning to edit your own work is an essential part of becoming a successful writer. Today's agents and editors have no interest in stumbling through poorly crafted work. If you feel like your writing is not getting the attention it deserves, it is probably because your thoughts are not being as clearly communicated as you think they are.

The purposes of this course are to.

1) Increase the effectiveness of your fiction and non-fiction writing.

2) Save money by doing your own first edit.

3) Understand how the little details of craft can increase your story's readability.

4) Learn how to find your own errors, why they keep your story from working, and best of all, how to FIX them.

When I work with an individual writer, I spend much of my time teaching the hows and whys of the editing process. There are accepted rules to writing. These standards are contained within William Strunk�s The Elements of Style, The Chicago Manual of Style (fiction), and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (academic). Variance from these has to be for a reason, unless you are writing for your own entertainment.

The topics of my workshop--Accuracy, Clarity, Content, Style/Craft, Story Organization, The Hook, Dialog, and Right-Branching Sentences�are not all inclusive. Consider them a primer. Read. Find what works. Ask yourself why. I read good and bad to discover exactly that. Even in books published by the major printing houses, I find errors. It keeps my editing skills honed.

Week 1Accuracy
I will cover the importance of truth in your writing, whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, as well as techniques to maintain accuracy and consistency within your work.

Week 2: Clarity and Story Structure  
I will discuss the word forms that snarl sentence meaning. I will show you how to replace them and pump up the power of your words. I will also explain the questions you need to answer so the reader will understand your work.

Week 3 Style/Craft and Work Process Organization
I will talk about the role of style (how you, as an individual, express things) and craft (the rules) and how to keep one from getting in the way of the other. Work process organization will cover the different ways writers actually DO their work, and how to write about what you don't know.

Week 4 The Hook and Dialog
Hooks are essential to draw the reader into and through your work. Likewise, dialog can be an effective way to keep the reader engaged. Learning to create effective hooks and dialog will make all the difference in your writing's effectiveness.

Week 5 Right Branching Sentences 
Right branching sentences create dynamic, highly-readable writing. Learn how to evaluate your work, and trim it so that ever word matters by applying this simple technique. Your writing will communicate more information, more clearly, more powerfully, and in fewer words.

Through this step-by-step course, students will learn how to self-edit, more clearly express their ideas, and dramatically improve the quality of their writing.

The course will be interactive. Students will edit exercises, as well as submit their own work as exercises for other students to edit.

Prerequisite Have some writing available to be edited or be willing to write something for the purpose of learning to edit.

Course Materials Provided by instructor as e-mail attachments: Critiques, lessons, writing prompts, free-writing exercises, worksheets, and handouts.

Recommended Resources:

The Chicago Manual of Style: Pick up a used copy or available online at: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

The Elements of Style: William Strunk, Jr., E.B. White

The First Five Pages: A Writers Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile: Noah Lukeman

On Writing: Stephen King

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: Pick up a used copy if you write nonfiction professional and academic papers.

United Press International Stylebook: Pick up used. A handy, alphabetical reference to check your grammar and style quickly.

Warriner's English Grammar and Composition: Pick up used. A comprehensive guidebook chock full of exercises and clear explanations.

About the Facilitator:

Sandra Kischuk, writer, fine artist, and success coach, writes award-winning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scripts. She has been the featured speaker at business network organizations and numerous Florida writing groups.

Sandra has done technical writing, advertising copy writing, and video scripting. Her articles about research in the University of South Florida College of Engineering were published statewide and nationally. She maintains 5 websites for a physician, writes bios for USF's College of the Arts, and prepares online continuing education courses for dental professionals. Her free weekly email newsletter is distributed to over 7,000 people on six continents.

She holds a BS in Business Administration, an MS in Management Information Systems, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management. She had top scholarship in Fine Arts at Indiana University and used to do courtroom art for a CBS affiliate. Each year she judges a writing contest sponsored by the Hillsborough Council Teachers of English and edits and compiles the Tampa Writers Alliance Wordsmith anthology. She lives and works in Tampa, FL. Her writing website is: www.SandraKischuk.com.

Registration: Select the payment service you want to use.
Workshop Duration: 5 weeks  

Scheduled Sessions for 2012:


January 16th

February 27th

March 26th

April 30th

May 28th

June 25th

August 20th

September 24th

October 29th

November 26th

December 31st


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The following books are not required purchases for this course, but are highly recommended by the facilitator.


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