Creative Writing Next Steps: Drafting and editing your work | Nicola Valentine | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Creative Writing Next Steps: Drafting and editing your work

teacher avatar Nicola Valentine, Prize winning writer of novels, stories and films

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Lesson 1: Introduction


    • 2.

      Lesson 2: All about drafting and how it works


    • 3.

      Lesson 3: The First Draft


    • 4.

      Lesson 4: Redrafting your work


    • 5.

      Lesson 5: Polishing your writing


    • 6.

      Lesson 6: Tips and tricks in MS Word, using the navigation pane


    • 7.

      Lesson 7: More tips and tricks in MS Word for editing


    • 8.

      Lesson 8: MS Word Read Aloud and views


    • 9.

      Lesson 9: Editing tools in MS Word for when you're working with other people


    • 10.

      Lesson 10: How to know when you're finished


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

So you've finished your first draft? Well, that's just the beginning. Most authors write many drafts of each piece before it's really finished. This course takes you through the process of editing and polishing your manuscript so that it's ready to send out to publishers, or to put through the publishing process yourself. Learn about the main things to look for when editing and how to make your draft shine. Also learn about the tools in Microsoft Word that can help you with this process 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nicola Valentine

Prize winning writer of novels, stories and films


I'm a prize winning novelist as Nicola Monaghan, and also write best selling thrillers as Niki Valentine. I've published novels, short stories, articles in magazines and national newspapers and pieces for broadcast on BBC radio. I've also written and produced short films and am working on my first feature.



See full profile

Level: Intermediate

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Lesson 1: Introduction: Hello and welcome to my drafting and editing course on Skillshare. My name stickler Monahan, and I'm a prize-winning author from Nottingham in the United Kingdom. So this course is all about how you can improve your work. How you can work with drafts. What a first draft is, how you redraft, how you polish your work, and how you get your work into the best possible standard, either to send out to an agent already told and try and get published the traditional way or to publish yourself because you have to have just as good as standard if you want to publish your work yourself. So that's what this is about. I'm going to take you through all of the things that I do when I'm editing and improving my work. And hopefully that will help you get your work to a better state. Okay, Well, thanks for joining me and I'll see you in the next lecture. 6. Lesson 6: Tips and tricks in MS Word, using the navigation pane: Okay, so in this lesson I'm going to show you some tips and tricks via Microsoft Word, things that will help you edit your work. And the first thing I'm going to show you is called the navigation pane. This is a really helpful little function in Word that a lot of people don't know about. That can really help you organize your work and that can also help with the editing process. Now you see the navigation pane you have to go to View. And then if you click navigation pane and you'll see all of my titles from through the novel are picked up. This is an awful that I'm working on at the moment. It's a work in progress. So you'll see that all of these appear and I can click on them and I can navigate the document really easily via this route. It's really quite cool. The other thing I can do is I can move things around so I can decide this chapters in the wrong place and I can move it here. And that's just as simple as picking it up. I'm moving it with the mouse. I can also select the chapter really easily. So if I click onto this and then I can right-click and go select heading in content. I can copy that and put it into a new document and edited separately if I want to, which can be a useful thing to do. If I decide to Chapter needs to go completely, I can just right-click and then go delete and it's gone forever. Obviously, you want to save your document down with a different name when you're doing this kind of thing so that you don't really lose anything forever, just in case you change your mind. But yeah, that's an option too. So lots of really useful things on the navigation pane. So this menu doesn't appear automatically. You actually have to format your text to have this menu appear. So what you have to do, so for example, here, if I highlight this, it gives me the chance to change the style. Now when you just type something into word without doing any work, it'll just be like this, just normal and space text. So in order to make that a title, I have to highlight it. Again, go to Styles, and then I pick the type of heading. This one should be a heading 2, and you'll see that it's popped up now and appeared in my menu. So that's how you make sure that you get the headings into that menu. Also, if you format the headings in different ways. So for example, I have sections in this novel format these headings as heading one. And I format these headings as Heading 2. And then I have these menus that will close down. And I can see my sections really clearly. I'm just like with my chapters, I can move my sections around too so I can decide that this needs to go before this. And then there is so lots of really useful things you can do with the navigation pane. It's one of those high level editing tools that really you're going to be using when you're doing the major structural edits most probably really worth knowing about and hopefully that's helpful to you. I'm going to give you some more tips and tricks in the next lesson. So we'll look at more ways of editing in words. There. 7. Lesson 7: More tips and tricks in MS Word for editing: Okay, So I'm going to show you a few tools here in Word that will help you edit your documents. So most of these belong in review and these are the tools that help you with the micro editing of your document. So the close work with the words and sentences. And the first one is the editor. So the editor pops up here when you click onto it, it gives you an overall score for your documents. So I'm reasonably pleased with that score of 82%. It goes to your spelling and your grammar and checks for errors. It also looks at conciseness and it gives you suggestions for where you might make your writing more efficient and more concise. And you can check for similarity to online sources. So let's just look at a little bit deeper down into some of this functionality. If we go to spelling, it will literally take me through all of the words in my document that it thinks that I've misspelled. Now obviously it might be wrong. So for example here, this is just a French word. It's not actually a misspelling. So I can just go ignore once or we ignore all, or I can even add the words my dictionary. I can change the way that word looks at my spellings by going through the settings here and decide to get it to ignore certain things and to check certain things. And I've got auto correct as well, which will correct as I'm typing. So this is all really useful stuff. So if I go back and go to the grammar that works in a really similar way, and I can go to the settings there and look at it. And then conciseness. It literally just looked at my sentences. And it points out to me here that I could replace made an effort with tried. Now it might be that I don't want to for stylistic reasons or for the rhythm of the sentence, but it does help me make my routing as efficient as possible. So all really, really useful stuff. So that's the editor. There is a Thesaurus. Now, I would always say with the Thesaurus, just be slightly careful if the suggestions, but you can put a word in here. Let's say for example, you're thinking you might want to synonym for Berlin. And it will tell you all of the things you might be able to replace that with. And you can use the visceral in your document to. So let's say I wanted to replace warm here with something more interesting. If I right-click go to synonyms, it will give me some suggestions. So that can be quite useful, especially if you find you've overused a particular word and you're looking for an alternative. As with any sisters, whether that's within a piece of software or actually a printed the serous on your shelf. I would just urge caution because sometimes when you change too many words to words that are too complex, it just doesn't quite scan, right? If you've ever seen the senior friends where Joey gets hold of with this service, you know exactly what I mean? Look it up if you have it because it's fun. 8. Lesson 8: MS Word Read Aloud and views : So another really useful function on word that's quite a new thing. And I use loads and loads and I found this really helped me improve the quality of my writing and just the cleanness of my documents is this function here which is read aloud. This is just really helpful. So if you click Read Aloud of herself in the mirror, she moved his risk increase in the middle of her forehead achieved. So you saw I just paused it that you literally read your work to you and it highlights the words as it goes, which is really, really useful. I find this really helps me see some of the mistakes in my work. And I found it helped me such a lot when I've been editing recently. So something really useful to know about. You can also change the way you look at your work. And that can be really helpful because when you change the way you look at your work, sometimes you see things that you haven't spotted before. So a useful thing can be put in it into vid mode, so you just click there, it changes the background color. I have specified the background color I want for read mode. So you do need to change that in your settings, but it is quite cool because it basically makes the pages a bit smaller, the font a bit bigger. It gives you a background color. And then you can basically flip through your book like this, and it is a better way to read it. And because you do see things differently when it's formatted differently, again, it can be a really useful extra thing to do when you're editing. If you want to go back, you just gave you IT document and there you are. You can also put it into focus mode. Again, you can change the settings for this, but that's just another way to look at it and to see your work. And then you seen the thing in the background from your tabs or anything else that you're working on. And when you want to exit this mode, if you see these three little dots are pair, if you hover on them in menu comes back again and you can just click focus off and go back to your normal mode. So lots of really useful things there to help you can also go to the immersive reader here, which is another different formats again. So as you see, there's loads and loads of things you can do. And as you see here, again, it's really changed the way that the text appears is even changed the font. So again, really useful just to see their words in a different format. And then you pick up things that you really haven't seen before. And if you want to exit the Immersive Reader is as simple as just clicking Close and you're back to the normal layout for your document. So lots and lots of stuff there that can really help you when you're editing on your own. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you a few things that can help you when you're working with other people. So if you've got a professional editor who's helping you with your book. Or if you're working with Rice's in writing workshops and that kind of thing. So I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. Lesson 9: Editing tools in MS Word for when you're working with other people: Okay, so this lesson is all about the tools that you can use to basically help you edit your work with the help of another writer or an editor. So these again are in the review pane. So if I go to the review pane, one of the useful things that you might find, especially for writing workshops, is inserting comments. So you can literally go through the text. You can find the thing you want to comment on, highlights it, put new comment. It tells you who's doing the comment and when they put it in. And you can just say, like say for example, you're confused about something. You can just put a question or you can put a comment or a suggestion for how things might be worded better. Another really useful tool for this kind of work is something called Track Changes here. And a lot of professional editors in publishing houses use this functionality. You just turn track changes on. And then whenever someone goes through this document and changes something, they might just make a deletion like that. It shows you that that deletions be made. Now if you haven't had to go through your work and use track changes and make suggestions like this. You can then decide as the author whether to accept or reject the deletion. So that's incredibly useful as well. When you've gone through and accepted all the suggestions that you wanted to, you can then go here and go reject and stop tracking. Or if you've decided your editor is so good, you want to accept everything that they've said. You can go except and stop tracking. And then it turns off and it makes your document and look more normal again. But very, very useful functionality, especially when you're working with other people. You can also compare documents and combined documents. So let's say, for example, as a fashion that you've edited of this and a version that your editors or digit of this, you can combine those versions that can be a little bit dangerous, but it will actually bring in safe guards to get you to check where things have actually clashing with each other. Or you can just compare them and see what the differences are. And this can be really useful when you're working with drafts and you're not sure what you've changed and you're not sure even which draft you in, which can happen when you're working with a really big document. So that's basically some neat little functionality that you can use when you're working with other people that can be really helpful. 10. Lesson 10: How to know when you're finished: So in this lecture, I'm just going to talk about how to know when you finished your story. And this can be one of the most tricky things of all. So one of the ways that you can know you've finished your story is when you literally can't see a word that you can change. And sometimes you do get to this stage for the short story where really you can through it again and again and again. And there isn't a single word that you change or alter or lose or move. That can unfortunately be quite rare that we find a story feels really finished and we know it's finished. And they're literally isn't a word that we change. In fact, what we often find and there's a really good quote about this, and this is Leonardo da Vinci. And he said, art is never finished, only abandoned. And I think there's definitely some truth in that. So at some point, we sometimes after, decide to abandon our story, to stop writing and to leave it for whatever reason. And that could be a permanent thing or it could be a temporary thing where we leave it until we can get fresh eyes and look at it. Again. Sometimes you've simply become too close to the text and you actually can't see the wood for the trees anymore. And you can't see where you need to editor and that's a good time to stop. And it may be that you need extra help at this point, that you need help from an editor, either one that's involved with the publishing house or one that you pay independently. Sometimes you just really need a second pair of eyes on your piece of work. It could also be a beta reader. We have lots of groups on Facebook where you can find beta readers. You can also find them yourself through any writing groups that you're a member of. That can be a real advantage of going on a core such day that you can meet people who you can swap, work with, share work with, and give each other the kind of feedback you need at this stage. But sometimes you just can't see anymore for yourself because you've turned as much as you can and it's time to get somebody to help you. Another time you might just finish writing a story. And this happens to a lot of people, is when you've got a deadline. So that can be an official deadline with a publisher that you're working, whether with your agent or it could be a deadline for a competition where that story really needs to go out. Sometimes it's a matter of practicalities. This story needs to go out. So therefore, I'm going to stop writing it now. And sometimes you need to start writing because you've just had enough of that story and you really can't spend any more time working on your being with those characters or being in that space. So sometimes it's as simple as that. You've just had enough. When you've written more short stories, when you've written quite a few short stories, this will start to feel more natural and this is something that you will understand on a really instinctive basis. And so the only way really to find out how you work as a writer and what's the point at which you need to finish the story is to write some and get to that point where you know a bit more about what works for you.