Thursday, December 10, 2009

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Book Review

I did a proper review of this book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to edit yourself into print, over at my Sci-fi fan letter blog, wherein I posted the table of contents and some of the basics about this book. Here, I thought I'd expound a bit on what I learned from reading it.

First off, the book is great. If you want to improve your writing go out and buy it (or borrow it from the library :) ). After finishing this book I came up with a significantly better opening for a book I'll need to reedit in the future. Not my current project, but it's nice to know that even an older project can be improved, and potentially edited to the point where it is more professional and saleable.

The first chapter deals with something all writers are familiar with: Show and Tell. What Renni Browne and Dave King do, however, is point out that a balance is required. Showing and telling are both important tools for a writer, provided you know how and when to use each one to improve your novel.

My favourite aspect of their book is the 'checklist' at the end of each chapter, point form notes of things you should examine your manuscript for in order to improve it. And these are not simply 'remove this' pieces of advice. They want you, the author, to understand what your doing in each paragraph, each word of dialogue, each word period, in order to make your story the best you can do.