Do You Need Help Editing Fiction? Try These Books

By Jennifer Hallmark

Writers love to write. They enjoy plotting and planning. I like to daydream about my stories for a long time before I put pen to paper.

But a lot of fiction writers don’t care for the editing stage. I find the more I learn about editing, the easier it becomes and the more I enjoy it. So I thought I’d share three books that have helped me and a little about each.

Click to tweet: Need Help Editing Fiction? Books that help. @InspiredPrompt #editing #amwriting

  1. Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print. By Renni Browne and Dave King.  In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.
  2.  Revision and Self-Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel That Sells. By James Scott Bell. Jim’s book is designed to eliminate the intimidation factor that comes with revision and self-editing. You’ve finally gotten a manuscript completed. Time for a drink. But put on the brakes! Now it’s time to start all over again at page one and start the revision process. Most writers dread this stage. Thankfully, Jim’s book will give them techniques to use during the initial writing phase that will minimize the amount of revision that’s required, as well as guidelines for editing what remains and positioning the work for the best possible odds of a sale. New sections devoted to selling the work once it’s finished. Downloadable worksheets and checklists that make keeping track of and executing revision goals easy and productive.
  3. Troubleshooting Your Novel: Essential Techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems. By Steven James. In this hand-on, easy-to-use guide, award-winning author Steven James provides helpful techniques and checklists, timesaving tricks of the trade, and hundreds of questions for manuscript analysis and revision. You’ll learn how to:

    • ADJUST elements of story progression, from causality, tension, and setbacks to plot twists, climaxes, and endings.
    • DEVELOP authentic, riveting characters by exploring their attitudes, desires, beliefs, and more.
    • LEARN narrative techniques for elements such as dialogue, flashbacks, suspense, voice, subtext, and flow.
    • ENSURE reader engagement by aligning with their expectations, fulfilling promises, and instilling trust.
    • CHECK issues with context and continuity.

    You owe your book more than just a polish and a proofread. Strengthen your story, prepare it for the marketplace, and make it the best it can be with Troubleshooting Your Novel.

    Three books that can make a difference in whether your book gets a second look by an editor or publisher.  Take time to edit, edit, edit. It’s a decision you won’t regret…

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