Course: Editing Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction Forms a Large Proportion of Publishing Lists

Non-fiction accounts for the overwhelming majority of publications and includes genres and subjects from autobiography to zoology. It covers all media, from books to websites, from reports to journals. In recent years, there has been a blurring of the boundaries so that non-fiction is now less bound by tradition.

Educational, Academic and Trade Non-Fiction

This workshop looks at trends in three areas: educational, academic and trade non-fiction.

Using sample texts and exercises, we will analyse the crucial components of a text to identify what is essential and what can be removed, leaving a sparer, stronger manuscript. Topics we will cover encompass:

  • looking at the big picture — when to restructure.
  • beginnings, endings and transitions in non-fiction.
  • educational titles — a closer look at audience and purpose.
  • enlivening academic text — signposting, conditionals, active and passive mood.
  • contemporary trade non-fiction — blurred boundaries and new techniques.

Pinpoint Problems Areas

Most readers can tell when a piece of writing isn’t working. It’s a different matter to be able to identify the problem. Perhaps the manuscript is too long, or the chapter divisions are illogical or unbalanced. Maybe it assumes too much technical knowledge or, conversely, talks down to the audience.

For editors, as for doctors, diagnosis is only half the job. Once you know what the problem is, the question becomes ‘What can be done?’ This workshop provides you with the techniques to pinpoint problem areas and discusses possible solutions.


Editors face huge variations in the kind of work they are expected to undertake, depending on the type of publication they are dealing with. The exercises in this workshop will give you the guided practice you need to work at a more advanced level.

This workshop is designed for experienced editors who wish to expand their non-fiction editing skills.


Pamela Hewitt is a qualified trainer who has developed and presented programmes on editing and writing for universities, vocational educational colleges, writers’ centres and societies of editors around Australia and internationally. She has also developed online editing courses on professional editing and editing for writers.

Pamela became an Accredited Editor in 2008, one of Australia’s inaugural accredited editors. She has been an active member of societies of editors and writers’ centres, presenting papers and speeches at all national editing conferences as well as at writers’ festivals, including the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the ACT Word Festival, Style Council and the National Literary Awards. Pamela was a member of the Institute of Professional Editors’ National Working Group on Accreditation and co-convenor of the National Working Group on Education, Training and Mentoring.

In more than twenty years as an editor, Pamela has worked in-house and freelance across the industry in a career spanning academic, educational and trade publishing. Although she concentrates on fiction and non-fiction book editing, Pamela has also edited scholarly journals, websites, poetry and oral history projects. She publishes widely on professional editing and writing.

Other professional initiatives include publishing The Fine Print, an independent online editing journal, and conducting five national surveys of editors. She is currently investigating ways that editors can survive and thrive in the era of the eBook and the app.

Date: 17 August 2011, Wednesday
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Venue: Room 3.7, L3, Civil Service College, 31 North Bouna Vista Road

For more information or to register, visit us at Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully before registering.
Tel: (65) 6848 8290

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