Course Review: Editing for Point of View and Perspective


Course Review: Editing for Point of View and Perspective

The self-paced Editing for Point of View and Perspective class from Club Ed delves into finer editing considerations of particular benefit to developmental editors and line editors. As with all Club Ed courses, the materials and exercises are first-rate.

After having taken many quality courses from Club Ed creator Jennifer Lawler, I’d picked up this self-paced class many months before I finally settled down to work my way through it. Because I’d benefited from previous courses with Jennifer, I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed.

A reality of editing schedules is that authors sometimes push delivery dates, so having a learning opportunity at hand can help relieve anxiety—as well as sharpen your editing skills—when time unexpectedly opens on your calendar.

Instructor Led v. Self-Paced

I’ve taken both instructor led and self-paced classes from Club Ed, and there are pros and cons to each. At Club Ed, both options present you with reading materials (Word documents or PDFs) and exercises for each lesson.

Instructor Led

With instructor-led courses, materials are released weekly for the lessons (usually over a four-week period). Students are asked to return assignments before the beginning of the next week.

The two main advantages of instructor-led courses are class forums and instructor feedback.

The forums allow participants to interact with the instructor and other classmates. This provides further insight and discussion, as well as the opportunity to network with other editors.

The feedback on each exercise is arguably the most valuable component of Jennifer’s courses. Editing is often best learned through doing, and Jennifer provides a detailed critique on each student’s work, invaluable for adjusting the new skills being practiced.


The main value of self-paced courses is, of course, the flexibility to take courses on your own time. When time opens, they are there waiting to fill gaps in your schedule.

Ask any editor and they’ll tell you that scheduling a live class is a surefire way to have work suddenly overwhelm your inbox. While I try to balance live and self-paced classes, live classes always bring a bit of anxiety around fitting them into a full editing schedule.

(I also want to add that I try to take at least a couple of courses each year, and I hope to always do so. Whether it’s largely a refresher course or one that covers a new skill, training is wonderful for maintaining skills, developing new ones, meeting new editors, and renewing your enthusiasm for the art.)

While self-paced classes don’t entail instructor feedback on the exercises, Jennifer does include an answer sheet with her suggested approach to each exercise. The individual feedback of instructor-led courses is most valuable, but these answer keys go a long way toward bridging that gap and are extremely helpful.

The Class

Editing for Point of View and Perspective helps developmental editors spot and solve POV and perspective errors in fiction. The class is broken into four lessons:

Lesson 1

The first lesson covers the basics of POV and perspective, the differences between the two, the three main POVs, and common problems editors will encounter with POV and perspective.

Lesson 2

The second lesson takes a closer look at the possibilities and limits of POVs and examines how an author’s choices affect the story. The lesson also examines where narrator perspective and character perspective interconnect.

Lesson 3

The third lesson delves into perspective problems as early-warning signs of other issues in the manuscript. The materials demonstrate how developmental problems in a manuscript can be intertwined, and strategies are offered for prioritizing and addressing these issues.

Lesson 4

The fourth lesson addresses POV and perspective issues that occur less frequently in manuscripts but for which an editor should nonetheless be prepared. The materials show where authors can go wrong and the strategies editors can use to get authors back on track.

Overall Assessment

POV and perspective issues require a sensitivity and ear for what is happening right down to the sentence level, and editors who develop this sensitivity and ear will be able to offer clients strong advice for modulating the narrative distance between the text and the reader. This class provides insightful materials and useful exercises for developing this higher-level editing skill.

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