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Rewriting and Substantive Editing (Non-Fiction)


Some content requires more than just a quick copy-edit . . .

This course combines practical exercises with group discussion and will help you feel more confident about your ability to sort out texts that pose more than ‘standard’ problems. 

You’ll work on your own, in pairs and as a group to analyse the problems of different types of text, look at a range of solutions and consider how best to apply these solutions while keeping your writers on board.

Between the two sessions you will be asked to look at a longer piece of writing and assess how you would set about editing or rewriting it.

The result? New skills and techniques – and increased confidence in your ability to apply them. 

Please note that almost all the example texts are drawn from non-fiction or educational publishing; this course is unlikely to meet the needs of someone who works exclusively on fiction. 

Who is it for?

Editorial staff and freelancers, working on non-fiction or transactional writing, who are comfortable with the basic copy-editing process but who want to extend their skills and to rewrite with greater confidence.

What will you achieve?

On completing this course you’ll be able to:

  • assess and explain why a piece of writing doesn’t work
  • develop and present strategies for improving pieces of writing
  • adjust the level and tone of a piece of writing
  • apply the techniques learnt to any text to make it clearer and more accessible


Session 1

  • Examining what rewriting is, what it involves and some of the issues it presents
  • Deciding when texts need more intense intervention
  • Identifying problems and considering solutions
  • Maintaining the author’s voice
  • Adjusting the level of a piece of writing
  • Considering jargon and specialist vocabulary 

Session 2

  • Pooling strategies for longer texts
  • Pros and cons of bullet points
  • Approaches to cutting text
  • Editing text written in English as a second language
  • Keeping the author on board
  • Final discussion and queries

There are also two tasks to work on between the two sessions.


For more information about any of these courses, please email or sign up to receive our newsletter for updates on these and our other offerings. 

Please read our Terms & Conditions
Session 1: 21 November | Session 2: 28 November (mornings only)


Thursday, 21 November 2024

A number of discounts are available

Course format

  • Virtual classroom
  • 9am to 12.30pm 
  • Four sessions plus breaks, comprising two half-day sessions on two days, one week apart

Date information for future sessions

June 2024

  • Dates: 20 & 27 June 
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.00am to 12.30pm 

November 2024

  • Dates: 21 & 28 November 
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.00am to 12.30pm 

A number of discounts are available

Enrol on this course

What you will need

To join the course, you will need access to a computer or laptop with a camera and microphone. You will need to activate a free Zoom account to join the course. This takes two minutes and does not require any payment. It is purely for administrative purposes.