The Biggest Mistakes Novelists Make

And how to fix them!


Tiffany Yates Martin


Live on Jan. 25, 2023, or watch recording


Beginning novelists


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

No matter how experienced you may be as a writer, no matter how talented, it’s impossible to gain perfect objectivity about your own work—so it’s no wonder there are certain missteps almost every author may make at one time or another.

Over decades working on literally thousands of manuscripts, career editor Tiffany Yates Martin has noticed a handful of specific areas where stories most commonly stumble or lose their way. She’s identified the likeliest reasons a manuscript isn’t coming together, isn’t as effective as it can be, or simply isn’t getting requests from agents or editors.

Just as an editor can objectively “diagnose” what may be keeping a story from being as effective and compelling as possible, you can learn to spot these common mistakes in your own manuscripts, and fix them to ensure that your story is as effective and complete on the page as it is in your head. This 90-minute presentation is like a diagnostic clinic to help you pinpoint and resolve any ailments in your manuscript—as well as other mistakes you might be making in the editing/revision process.

You’ll learn:

  • The most common areas where stories may not be as effective or potent as they can be
  • How to ask yourself specific, actionable questions for each area that will help you pinpoint what may need development, deepening, or clarification
  • How feedback can both help and hinder your work

Supplementary materials: After class, all attendees will also receive a story sketch template and a self-editing checklist.

Who should take this class

Authors writing novels who:

  • Are preparing for or are struggling or stuck in a first draft
  • Are ready to edit and revise their work and want a primer for checking for problem areas
  • Want to do a final check before publishing or submitting to make sure their manuscript is solid and tight
  • Have polished their manuscript but know or have gotten feedback that “something isn’t working”
  • Have been submitting to agents/publishers and not receiving positive responses or offers

This class is not suited for

  • Writers of short-form work (short stories, articles, essays, poems)
  • Writers of nonfiction, including memoir (while some of the class could equally apply to memoir, all examples and discussion will center on fiction; memoir will not be addressed in the presentation or during Q&A)

What’s included in all of Jane’s classes

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology (see system requirements). You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023
  • Time: 1:00–2:30 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

About the instructor

Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors as well as indie and newer writers, and is the author of the Amazon bestseller Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing. She’s led workshops and seminars for conferences and writers’ groups across the country and is a frequent contributor to writers’ sites and publications. Under the pen name Phoebe Fox, she’s the author of six novels, including her most recent release, The Way We Weren’t (Berkley/PRH).

Everything was clear and concise from Tiffany. Not a moment was wasted, which made all the learning fun and interesting. I also loved the examples shared. I’m a new fan!

Terri T.

Bang on. Tiffany nailed it. Just what I was looking for to put the pre-editing touches on my manuscripts.

Desiree C.

This webinar was so helpful, with clear explanations and specific steps to take. The examples highlighted each of the techniques, which will be invaluable. My reading will be more active now.

Michale R.

All students receive the following

  • Access to the live class. After roughly 75 minutes, the instructor will take questions during class using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 90 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to access the recordings.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Supplementary handouts, including a story sketch template and a self-editing checklist.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.