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Second Session: The Forest and The Trees: Editing Your Own Work

  • Iowa Writers' House 332 East Davenport Street Iowa City, IA, 52245 United States (map)

When: Sunday, May 19, 2019; 1:30pm-4:30pm

Where:  Iowa Writers' House, 332 East Davenport St

Cost: $75

Friends and writers! Our workshop on Editing Your Own Work with Elisabeth Chretien on March 24th has sold out. With a growing waitlist, we're opening up another session later this year. For anyone who was interested in this workshop but didn't get an initial spot, the next session will be on Sunday May 19th! Thanks to those of you who asked to be waitlisted and to Elisabeth who offered to teach again!


Writing is hard. Editing what you’ve written can be even harder. Even worse, while there seem to be countless classes and books on how to write, there’s comparatively little on how to edit your writing and make it the very best it can be. Many published writers talk about playing it by ear and simply learning how to edit their own work through trial and error on their first few books. But it shouldn’t have to be that way.

Come spend an afternoon with professional developmental editor Elisabeth Chretien and learn about the different types of editing and strategies to look at your own work with an editor’s eye. We’ll learn how to look at our writing at the sentence level, the scene level, and the universal level and how those three levels affect each other.

By the end of the class, you’ll have the tools to effectively edit your own writing and take it to the next level.



Elisabeth Chretien is an Iowa City-based freelance editor, ghostwriter, and writer, as well as the managing editor of the Iowa Writers’ House Editing Services. Before going freelance, she spent a decade at the University of Nebraska Press and University of Iowa Press as an acquisitions editor.

Some of the notable titles Elisabeth acquired and edited include the New York Times bestseller, A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable and Scott Schulte; Maggie Messitt’s The Rainy Season: Three Lives in the New South Africa, which was long-listed for both the 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Non-Fiction in South Africa and the 2015 Foreword Reviews’s INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award; and another memoir that was long-listed for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, Tim Bascom’s Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia.


I never planned on being an editor. I was going to be a writer. I had no idea that editing is actually just as much a creative process as writing itself. It’s not all about comma splices and dangling modifiers; it’s also about seeing a piece of writing as an organic whole and being able to turn it inside out and on its head to evoke emotions and express ideas that may have been buried in the initial piece. It’s about experimentation, taking chances, and not letting yourself get too attached to your own creation. It’s about giving yourself permission to see the world you’ve created in a whole new way.


All course information is sent to participants upon registering, including confirmation of workshop times, location, and materials.


Earlier Event: May 5
Blue Met Festival Launch Event
Later Event: June 29
Book Launch at Prairie Lights