Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ready, Steady, Edit.

I probably bought this book before I had anything much to revise or when I was too caught up in writing to pay it much heed. I wish I'd read it before I started.

Now that I'm ready to give fiction another try and have a cache of rejected short stories and novels going nowhere it's just what I'm looking for. I whipped through it, pencil in hand, over a weekend with lots of other stuff going on. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers reads like an easy-to-follow cook book. I can't wait to start applying what the authors recommend.

Renni Browne and Dave King are American editors and say today's fiction readers, unlike those for nineteenth century novels, expect stories to work like films and TV. It's an idea that informs the book's approach.

What I most I liked was the way the book was divided into easy-to-understand chapters with lots of examples from published authors, reviewers' comments and workshop submissions to illustrate the points made.

The twelve chapters have for the most part self-explanatory titles: 1 Show and Tell;2Characterization and Exposition; 3 Point of View; 4 Proportion, etc. They make their points clearly and have a bullet point checklist at the end of each chapter as well as enjoyable exercises with key answers in an appendix.

There's an interesting list of Top Books for Writers and an index. I liked the occasional cartoons gently deflating the image of the writer as hero/tortured genius.

It's good to have positive signposts to start editing already-written pieces, and I'm sure it will influence work-in-progress.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers;How to Edit Yourself into Print Second Edition (2004) by Renni Brown and Dave King. HarperCollins. NY


  1. have not seen that one, Sheila! Looks really interesting and useful.I must get on with the short story I am writing - work is getting in the way at the moment but as I need to get in as many euros as possible that has to be the priority!

  2. I understand Debbie. Never had time to rite when I was teaching,