Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Use the best practices followed by professional editors
rather than paying someone else to edit your work.

  • edit without hating it, without judgment
  • learn self-editing techniques to create the best story possible
  • save time and money – and produce a quality manuscript
  • become more attractive to publishers and readers

This hour & a half class will present an overview of the different types of editing and provide practical exercises and guides professional editors follow.

Coming later in the year. Cost is $39 (No refunds.)

Whether you’re . . .

  • a plotter whose writing has become mechanical with stunted characters
  • a pantser whose writing has potholes as they follow one idea, then another
  • a plantser, whose meandering plot lines sometimes result in a middle muddle

You’re in the right place!

Dorothy Parker wrote, “I hate writing; I love having written.”
Maybe you love writing, but hate editing?
Come to love editing what you have written.

Your Instructor: Ellen Higgins, Ph.D. I have worked as professional writer, editor, researcher, and instructor for over 30 years, teaching mostly on the college and adult ed level. Specializing in English language and literature, I have helped writers with the essentials of getting their voice and vision into print, from undergraduates to published authors. More than 15 of those years have been in popular continuing ed. Writing Workshops, taught in person and online. For tips and info on writing and opportunities for writers, see my newsletter.

Intensive Writing Workshop – in-person class

Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM ET, for 8 weeks, through the Bethlehem Central School District (BSCD) Albany, NY, area. $60 (Non-residents may enroll, but pay a slightly higher fee.)

Take your writing to the next level!

Focus on advanced and proven techniques to deal with issues writers confront, including facing the blank page,refining dialogue and characterizations, developing descriptions for impact and atmosphere, and understanding and working with scenes and point of view.

Whether you are working in fiction (short stories, novels, poetry) or nonfiction (essays, memoirs, family and personal stories), this workshop offers a supportive environment to inspire and improve your work, using best practices in exercises and strategies for crafting your projects.

Registration is through the BSCD Continuing Ed Program. Check their website for the Program brochure, which is issued in the fall and spring, contains information for registering. Please note: Late registration is accepted for this course up until the Friday before.

For questions, contact me at with the words “Bethlehem Workshop” in the subject line.

21 Day Challenge

Get your writing in shape in 3 weeks – offered seasonally (GROUP sessions) & now INDIVIDUALLY ON DEMAND.

Want to jump start a writing project or to revive your writing practice?

Though there is no one way to write, writers who follow a regimen produced 9 times the quantity and quality of those who write occasionally and in big blocks of time. Studies show that people can improve the quantity and quality of their writing by writing regularly, by tracking their time, and by being accountable to someone.

Why 21 days? Three weeks is often cited as the time needed to change behavior. While experts disagree on how just long it takes to develop a new habit, many people see 21 days as a comfortable period to build and maintain a new routine because it is manageable and requires low commitment.

Come join the Challenge and learn what it takes to cultivate the habit of writing and to see what works for your life and schedule. Resources and support are provided by regular emails with tips and strategies; opportunities to share your progress and difficulties; several group check-in meetings via Zoom, and unlimited email access to me, the instructor.

Are you ready to get your writing on track? Cost: $49

Ellen’s Writing Essentials: Writing Workshop – the Basics

$75 — Eight sessions, offered Thursdays, 7-9 pm, Oct 19 – Dec 14 (no class 11/23).

NOTE: This class has been combined with the Advanced one – the Basics will still be covered, with much more materials and opportunity to learn and polish writing skills.

Taught entirely online, this class will offer similar material in my in-person Continuing Education program, but will provide opportunities for those out of the area to experience the same curriculum, including practical exercises and strategies to inspire and improve and share your work in a supportive environment.

Description: So you’ve always wanted to write a book or you’ve always written something-stories, letters, a journal? Perhaps there is a story you’ve always wanted to tell? In addition to mini-lectures on elements and techniques of writing, the virtual class will consist of large and small group discussion and exercises to connect with your creativity and to hone your skills. Online resources available outside of class.

Cost is $75. Registration required.

“I began to see that about

half the student's battle is learning basic skills,

while the other half involves

tapping into imagination, memory and

a singular view of life and the world,

a view no one else shares until you put it into words.”

Annie Bernays co-author of What If?

For questions, contact me at, with WW – The Basics in the subject line.