Fiction Editing Weekend Intensive with Caroline Adderson

What: Editors BC workshop
When: Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, 2021, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: $140 for Editors Canada members ($110 early bird), $195 for non-members ($165 early bird), and $70 for student affiliates. Advance registration required. Registration closes September 21, 2021, at 11:59 pm; early-bird rates are in effect through August 31, 2021.

Registration is limited, so we encourage you to register early to avoid disappointment.

Behind every great novelist and short story writer, there is a great editor. In this six-hour course, author and writing teacher Caroline Adderson will share techniques to help editors bring out the greatness in their writers, from dazzling openings to moving endings and the whole story in between. Participants will practise these techniques in class (manuscripts provided). Adderson will also offer advice on the all-important writer–editor relationship.

At the end of the workshop, students will be able to:

  • Communicate more effectively with their fiction writers
  • Ask questions that will help their writers see their manuscripts freshly
  • Know the four basic editing tasks: cut, add, strengthen, and polish
  • Know what makes a good beginning
  • Understand the relationship between character and plot
  • Make suggestions to strengthen characterization
  • Know the four types of prose used in fiction and their implications
  • Recognize and improve problem scenes
  • Improve dialogue
  • Understand the Fichtean Curve in plotting
  • Recognize plot problems
  • Know what makes a good ending
  • Recognize ineffective endings
  • Offer tips to polish a final draft

Workshop Outline:

  • Introductions
  • Techniques to build trust and rapport with your writer
  • The four basic editing tasks: cut, add, strengthen, and polish
  • Beginnings: fulfilling expectations
  • More believable characters
  • Characters make plot
  • Plot issues
  • Scenes vs. narrative summary
  • Strengthening scenes
  • Resonant endings
  • Polishing tips

This course will be conducted online, through Zoom, in two three-hour sessions. 

Caroline Adderson is the author of five novels (A History of ForgettingSitting PracticeThe Sky is FallingEllen in PiecesA Russian Sister), two collections of short stories (Bad ImaginingsPleased to Meet You), as well as many books for young readers. She is also co-contributor to and editor of Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival, and guest editor of Best Canadian Stories 2019. Her work has received numerous award nominations including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Her awards include three BC Book Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, the Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement, and a National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Fiction. She teaches in the Writing and Publishing Program at SFU and is the Program Director of the Writing Studio at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

For upcoming PD seminars and meetings, go to To read West Coast Editor online, go to

Photo credit: Jessica Wittman, TBC

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