Edit Your Novel The Professional Way

Cornerstones’ online editing course

Learn how to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way on this new online course.

Over 18 weeks, leading UK literary consultants Kathryn Price and Helen Corner-Bryant will show you how to take your novel from draft to agent-ready submission.

They will introduce you to the techniques used by professional editors based on their time-tested approach to author development, as well as the skills outlined in their essential guide to editing, On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (John Murray, April 2018).

You’ll need to put in up to 10 hours per week to make the most of the course (180 hours over the 18 weeks) — that includes reading and thinking, completing practical exercises, feeding back on your peers’ novels, and contributing to forum discussions. You can work at any time of the day (or night) — you just need to meet the final deadline in each class.


Start date: 4 June 2018
Duration: 18 weeks
Skill level: Advanced
Session length: Fortnightly
Sessions: Six fortnightly sessions plus final session lasting one month

Special early bird price

Price: £1,800 £1,560 (inc. VAT)

Course Director

This course is for authors who have a complete draft of a novel — either a current work-in-progress or one you would like to revisit.

You may have completed a novel-writing course, or a writing masters, and are now ready to make the leap to the next level. Or you may be published and working on a new novel.

What we’ll teach you

We’ll introduce you to the key skills needed to edit a novel and show you how to use those techniques to diagnose and fix problems in your own work. We will also show you how to prepare your submission package to present to the trade.

During the course, there will be forum and chatroom participation, a moderator to answer day-to-day and technical queries, and a tutor overseeing your comments and posted work. You will receive individual tutor feedback on three occasions during the course.

What you’ll have at the end

You’ll have an edited and industry-formatted version of the first 10,000 words of your novel, together with a synopsis and covering letter, ready to send out to agents. You’ll also have a good working knowledge of the professional editing techniques you need to apply to the rest of your manuscript, and a plan to put those skills into action.

At the end of the course you’ll receive detailed tutor feedback on your first 10,000 words, synopsis and covering letter.

Class 1: Plan and Plot
Class 2: Cracking Characters
Class 3: What is the Point of View?
Class 4: Effective Dialogue and Description
Class 5: Show-stopping Scenes
Class 6: Page-turning Pacing
Class 7: Let Show not Tell Lead the Way
Class 8: How to Catch an Agent’s Eye



You’ll learn in Cornerstone’s online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can balance your learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of fellow learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the sessions.

As this is an advanced course, each group is limited to 15 students or fewer.

You’ll learn from:

  • Short audio and video files from your course tutors
  • Online guidance notes and directed editing exercises
  • Extracts to read, annotated with an editor’s notes
  • Reading and viewing lists
  • Online workshop sessions
  • Online peer critiquing
  • Tutor feedback via Skype, phone calls or online chats and forum posts
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers
  • A dedicated resources area which is continually updated

You’ll need:

  • Up to 10 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Helen Corner-Bryant – Course Director

Helen spent a number of years in editorial at Penguin before setting up Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 1998. In 2016, she opened Cornerstones US, creating the world’s first transatlantic literary consultancy. Helen and Cornerstones are known for nurturing new authors through the editorial process, providing feedback on all types of genres, scouting for agents, and launching many writers. Helen is a guest lecturer at leading universities including UCL Centre for Publishing and the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford. She is the co-author of the essential Cornerstones guide to editing and submitting a successful novel: On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (John Murray, April 2018).

Kathryn Price – Course Director and Tutor

After achieving a first in Literature and Criticism at UCL, Kathryn worked for literary agencies and for a bookshop specialising in crime fiction, where she developed a taste for unusual and macabre stories. Following her true passions — editing and teaching writing skills — she joined Cornerstones as managing editor in 2005 and later became co-director. In 2014 she decided to focus on the editorial side of the business and now works closely with authors developing their manuscripts. She is Cornerstones’ editor-in-chief and co-author of the essential Cornerstones guide to editing and submitting a successful novel: On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (John Murray, April 2018).



Join the Cornerstones alumni

After your course, you can join the online alumni where you’ll meet the growing network of past Cornerstones students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within the online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum, together with access to an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Join discussions about reading, writing and ideas
  • Retain access to the online resources area, which we constantly update with interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people in the online alumni chatroom

Taking things further

If you would like to continue on to one of our Professional Writing Academy courses, you’ll receive a discount. Please contact us for more details.

What our students say...

I am really enjoying the course. The lessons are teaching me so much about editing. Now I know how to approach some of the challenges in my first draft.


What our students say...

I knew when I decided to do this course, with the expense considerations and the time, that if nothing else it would at least make me a better writer, but honestly it’s really surpassed my expectations. I just feel like I’ve been given a complete tool-kit.


What our students say...

The course is brilliant, and the reason I say that is because it is built on firm and reliable foundations.


Recent titles and authors Cornerstones have worked with

How to apply for the course

It’s very important that we both agree that you and your manuscript are at the right stage to get the most out of this course.

As with all Cornerstones editing services, we like to review applications. You can apply online, by completing this form. We’ll review your application and get back to you within five working days.

If we confirm your place, we’ll email you payment options and the Terms & Conditions. Once payment has been received we will email you a receipt and confirm your place and the course start date. You will be emailed a login and link to the online classroom with how-to steps to get you started.

You can submit online through this site.