Lynn Goodwin

Class Title: Editing Like a Pro
Instructor: Lynn Goodwin
Class Term: January 7-February 18, 2019
We are not accepting any more enrollments for Lynn's class; the class has started.


"A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself." —Marianne Moore

What is editing supposed to accomplish?

How would picking up some editing skills help you write and publish more work?

Hone your skills and practice them in Editing Like a Pro.

Class Description

Each week we'll focus on a specific aspect of editing and practice in a judgment-free zone. We'll look at mechanics, character development, tightening, flow, description, word choice, sentence beginnings, scenes, reflection, editing your own work, asking yourself questions, and editing for others. Of course I reserve the right to edit this description to meet the needs of the class.

At the end of this class, students should have new tools to keep editing, digging deeper, and polishing your work. They will have made improvements in 3 pieces that can come from their blog posts, journal entries, short stories, memoirs, fiction, or essays.

Instruction/Communication Method: I will deliver instructions by e-mail and in our Yahoo group. I will comment on all submissions, and will encourage students to comment on each other's work. Students should purchase a copy of Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 for examples of scenes, reflection, and description.


  • Unit 1: Editing for yourself. What do you need to know? Practice editing. What has improved and what do you need to know?
  • Unit 2: Mechanics & Other Feedback. Why mechanics matters. Fragments and run ons: when to use and when to correct. Capitalization: when to capitalize and when not to. Punctuating dialogue: Where do quotation marks go and why are they useful? How can paragraphing and great word choices help you polish your writing?
  • Unit 3: Characters that Work. Sympathetic? Or one you love to hate? Has things she wants/needs? Has struggles /conflicts that matter and that readers will identify with? Has things she can do to get what she wants? How does she change and what doesn't change?
  • Unit 4: Editing for Someone Else. Asking questions. Being diplomatic. Who is the authority? When should you accept and when should you reject another's ideas? You will be assigned a partner to work with—though I will take requests into consideration before making assignments.
  • Unit 5: Walking Away, Thinking, and Coming Back. Beginnings. Tightening! What makes your voice unique? When to talk, when to write, and when to listen. The power of walking away and coming back. Endings
  • Unit 6: Finding the Right Writing Partner. What are you looking for? What helps? What should you avoid? Final thoughts.

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

Ability to use e-mail and a Yahoo group, daily access to a computer, ability to use Word and to post .docx.

Time Commitment: 2-4 hours per week.

Tuition/Fees for this course

SCN members: $192. Non-SCN members: $240.

Instructor Bio

Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice. She's written Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 (memoir), Talent (YA) and You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (self help). Never Too Late and Talent are award winners. Shorter works have appeared in Hip Mama, The Sun, Good, Purple, and Flashquake. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network. Visit her website and her blog.

Social Media:

Praise for Lynn's Classes

  • Lynn Goodwin is positive and helpful. Very good feedback. —Dawn B., Bulverde TX

  • Lynn Goodwin continues to encourage me to dig deeper and expand my characters' backgrounds. I am still working on that. Her suggestions have helped me decide what is useful and what needs to be questioned. She also asks questions that challenge me to think beyond the text as written. I will continue to welcome Lynn's expertise in future sessions. —Marjorie S., Peoria AZ

  • Lynn Goodwin really helped me improve my stories. Her comments let me know where and why I was off track and where I was getting it right. The balance of praise and critique helped guide me with pleasant clarity. She even recommended some exemplary writing in the area of my weakness. I will be taking independent study from Lynn again. —Mary S., Irvine CA

  • Working with Lynn Goodwin is a complete joy. She is an encouraging and helpful facilitator of any genre of writing and her editing skills are excellent.I am writing a chapbook of flash fiction for a specific contest and Lynn helped me get my ms in tip top shape. Her suggestions were spot on and she was in my corner all the way. She is very accessible via email and responded to all my questions and comments immediately. I would highly recommend anyone looking to refine, polish, or begin a new writing project to work with Lynn. I know in the future I will take her Independent Study again with other writing projects. —Renee C., Temecula CA

  • My writing was sensitive and personal, and in many ways, I simply needed a witness; Lynn Goodwin provided that presence with grace along with many professional insights. It's great to work with someone who has published, is publishing again, and knows the ropes. —Denise J., Bay St. Louis MS

  • I'm delighted to say that I think more like a writer now than before I had Lynn Goodwin's help. I have more of a sense of what to include and what to exclude. Her guidance has given me a chance to stretch beyond what I never thought possible and in so doing has raised my confidence level as well. —Marge S., Peoria AZ

  • Lynn Goodwin is a wonderful source of insight and encouragement! —Carla B., Connersville IN

  • I've worked with Lynn Goodwin during several independent study sessions. She has always helped me improve my writing. She is encouraging, and she asks pertinent questions to make me think. I would recommend her classes for anyone working on a specific project. —Betsy K., Granite City IL

  • Lynn Goodwin knows how to offer suggestions to make your writing say what you want it to say. She teaches you to delve deeply into your character's motives so you write more purposely. Taking her course was well worth the time and money. —Susan H., College Station TX

  • Lynn Goodwin is a wonderful writing instructor who offers a positive approach. She has great insight, helpful writing suggestions, and the understanding and creativity to help make writing material better. I'd take her Independent Course again in a heartbeat. —Judy W., Studio City CA

  • Lynn Goodwin's positive encouragement and enthusiasm pushes me to write for her. Thank you Lynn! —Anne W., West Chester PA

  • Lynn Goodwin was an excellent instructor for the independent study course. Her comments and questions were precise and helpful. She was very encouraging while giving suggestions for changes. —Betsy K., Granite City, IL

  • Lynn Goodwin's questions helped me find issues I needed to work on and think about, to go deeper into the subject. She helped me see my writing from a reader's point of view, opening up new perspective on what I had taken for granted. I was hoping for specific editorial help for my book, and I got that. Very pleased with this course and with my progress under Lynn's guidance! Her questions were very insightful, and called attention to the things I needed to think about and work on. I would definitely recommend this course and this instructor! Betsy K., Granite City, IL

  • Lynn Goodwin has a very good way of asking questions. Wonderful class. —Vanessa M., Klosters, Switerzerland

  • Lynn Goodwin is an encouraging and effective mentor. Her comments challenged me to improve my writing and go deeper into each scene. Anyone working on an ongoing manuscript would benefit from her guidance. —Renee C., Hicksville NY

  • My expectations were 1) to start writing anything, 2) to focus more onto one subject, and 3) to develop a theme and storyline. They are sequential for the most part. I got started, and developed some focus, but the potential storylines are still in glamourous thought impeded by many years of daily chores and procrastination. Lynn Goodwin was helpful in getting through some of that...She is great at starting with you where you are at and proceeding forward. —Susan P., Grangeville ID

  • Lynn Goodwin is great at giving what is needed! ...very accessible, responsive and supportive... suggests readings that are appropriate to your needs. I keep coming back to work with Lynn because she keeps me going on my project! [she] has been a wonderful inspiration. — Diane P., Pikesville MD

  • Lynn Goodwin is the best writing instructor I have ever had. She has guided me through this journey with ease. —Anthony F., Danville CA

  • Lynn Goodwin has been very supportive and I feel as if my writing is improving significantly with her help and encouragement... I have been enjoying working with Lynn tremendously... I feel as if she has become my Muse :) — Diane P., Pikesville MD

  • Lynn Goodwin has a unique gift, talent? skill? of digging deep and hitting the heart of the story. She provokes incredibly deep and personal connection and thought to the material. I think it must be a difficult task to connect with each of her students since we come from such different backgrounds and experiences, but Lynn is able to cut through all the surrounding "stuff" and reach out to and touch the writer in me! It was a wonderfully supportive and encouraging environment, and a "safe" place to explore who we are as women,daughters, sisters, friends, wives—humans interacting, and most importantly who we are as writers with Lynn's sharp eye and caring guidance... I will definitely sign up for the next session, but could it be a wee bit longer? —Janice S., Houston TX

  • Through the first and second session [with Lynn Goodwin] ... I did finally "get" what showing vs telling meant ... I feel that was a tremendous step! Lynn is very supportive and involved and responsive. She did keep me moving on my work. —Diane P., Pikesville MD

  • If you are motivated and serious about your writing, Lynn Goodwin just may be a perfect match for you. She was always available if I had questions, she made great suggestions and her feedback was always given in such a way that I never felt embarrassed about my writing. She understood me and my needs and was very responsive. She returned my writing with her suggestions quickly, which helped me keep on writing. I had an amazing experience with her and will be taking as many classes with her as I can. —Debra R., Media PA

  • For someone who is unsure what the future holds in terms of writing capabilities, Lynn Goodwin's Independent Study was an excellent way to begin the exploration. —Mike Q., Walnut Creek CA

  • I really felt I grew in my understanding of how to edit and possibly get an article published. Lynn Goodwin's encouragement was amazing and very uplifting. It made me want to continue to strive to become a better writer. —Mary Anne D., Riverhead NY

  • Lynn Goodwin inspires you to confront the creative process at the level you need to address. She is warm, encouraging, and specific in her comments to each writer's needs. My hands are cramping from her input to me, and her matra, "Keep writing. Just keep writing," is helping me release all kinds of wonderful things I had no idea would so freely emerge for me. —Linda S., Cedar City UT

  • This is the second class I've taken with Lynn Goodwin and again she gave so much of her time to each writer, always responded quickly, and offered encouraging and thoughtful comments that made me want to keep writing. She really makes the online classes work and I will take another class from her any time she offers one. —Margaret S., Austin TX

  • This is the best online writing course I have taken. Lynn Goodwin was gentle and generous with her comments. I came away having a strong sense of what my strengths are and where I can take new direction. —Carol Z., St. Louis MO

  • Great Class. Terrific feedback. Interesting Group exchanges/writers added to the benefits of Lynn Goodwin's class. —Jane L., Oakland CA

  • Absolutely splendid! Lynn Goodwin's response was timely, thorough, and specific. —Carol Z., St. Louis MO

  • Lynn Goodwin was great. Prompt, encouraging. —Jane L., Oakland CA

  • Lynn Goodwin's comments were extremely encouraging. —Maria A., San Gabriel CA