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Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells [Kindle Edition]

James Scott Bell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Take your first draft from so-so to sold!

You've finished the first draft of your novel--congratulations! Time to have a drink, sit back...and start revising. But the revision process doesn't have to be intimidating. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, Second Edition gives you the tools and advice you need to transform your first draft into a finished manuscript that agents and editors will fight for.

Inside you'll find:

  • Self-editing techniques for plot, structure, character, theme, voice, and more that can be applied as you're writing to reduce your revision workload.
  • Methods for fine-tuning your first draft into a tight, well-developed piece of literature.
  • The Ultimate Revision Checklist, which seamlessly guides you through the revision process, step by step.
  • New Chapter! Exercises and techniques for "deepening" your work to engage and excite readers like never before.
Whether you're writing a novel currently or have finished the first draft, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, Second Edition will give you the guidance you need to revise your manuscript into a novel ready to be sold.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Scott Bell is the #1 bestselling author of Plot & Structure, and thrillers like Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back, and One More Lie (International Thriller Writers Award finalist), and is a Christy Award winner. His fiction has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and the Library Review. A former trial lawyer, Bell now writes and speaks full time. He lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1570 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00CAYOLTK
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 2 edition (December 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B03HSEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,872 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive ... Very impressive February 2, 2013
By Eric
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this edition on the strength of the glowing reviews I'd read on the 1st edition (not to mention, the book cover of this edition was a whole lot more appealing).
Let me start with what this book does not do. It doesn't address the issues of grammatical errors and typos thus the "Self-Editing" in the title `Revision and Self-Editing for Publication' might be seen as a tad bit skewed. I say this because we tend to clump the issues that pertain to grammatical flaws + proofreading under that umbrella.

That said, what then does work?

Everything else.

JSB's book is divided into two parts: Part 1: Self-Editing & Part 2: Revision.
In part one JSB takes you through the rudiments of a great novel ... Exposition, Setting & Description, Dialogue, Characters, Beginnings, Middles, & Endings, POV ... et al. But this time he's "liposuctioned" the fat, giving you only the lean, most important prime parts.

In part two, the Revision process, which is covered in the final third of the book, he gives you pre-revision advice - including health tips (yeah, that too!). Let's face it, writing can be as fun as it can be stressful. He follows through on the what-to & how-to of the 1st read through of your finished (1st) draft. Then it's followed by tips on deepening your prose. He rounds this up with the Ultimate check list, taking each core element of fiction and guiding you on what (for each element) you're supposed to do/look out for, right up to the final polish.
JSB does all of the above in a simple (not dumbed-down, but neither is it highfaluting) manner. And his tone, an easy follow-along-rhythm, will keep you head nodding as you read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for newbies January 4, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you've written a manuscript and don't know what to do now, this is a must read. The tips in this book will help you take that great piece of writing and make it the best it can be. The book is easy to read with helpful, bullet-pointed tips that you can copy and hang on the wall of your office, to help you remember how to keep things interesting and keep the flow on track. It's probably the best book of it's kind I've found.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a Bit of Rehash Info January 13, 2015
It hurts me to give three stars to anything written by James Scott Bell. I love his books and find his advice useful. He does an excellent job of getting his ideas across through examples from books of all genres as well as movies. However, what the title of this book promises and what is contained within its pages are two different things.

Having read two other writing books by Mr. Bell, I was excited to read this book just before embarking on my latest editing adventure. Unfortunately, the first 194 pages of the book do not cover self-editing. Instead, they are a complete recap of his book "Plot and Structure", with a little bit of "Conflict & Suspense" thrown in. That is not to say those 194 pages are bad, in fact they're well done and provide a nice refresher. But I bought the book strictly to improve my self-editing and not to review what PoV is and how to write dramatic dialogue. Only about 88 pages are dedicated to the actual subject of self-editing, the most useful part from one chapter made up of a check list for editing your manuscript.

If you haven't already consumed Mr. Bell's other books, you may well rate this book higher. As someone who's read his other books though, reading the exact same information, supported by the exact same examples and book snippets, galled.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for all writers September 12, 2013
I especially liked this book because I can wave it at my clients, most of whom already have my own book Really Stupid Writing Mistakes: How to Avoid Them and say "There. See? I've got backup! He says the same things I do. Go buy it. He has even more good stuff in his."

Aside from having a few typos, this is an excellent book for writers at any stage. (I'm an editor/designer ( so the most elusive of these things leap up and bite my nose constantly, so I forgave them all and give the book 5 stars.) I would have preferred to see the main text justified but that's just the designer in me. It takes nothing from the book.

Writers who already "know it all" will still benefit from this book if only for reassurance that they're doing things right.

It also warmed my heart to see the author's liberal references to Stephen King, one of my favourite writers because Mr. King knows how to write, and to another favourite of mine, Dean Koontz. And I am learning to write screenplays so was happy to get lots of beneficial information toward improving my craft in that arena as well.

I definitely recommend this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Self-Editing Guide August 24, 2013
By mscb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book has many wonderful tips on novel writing and revising. Sprinkled throughout are exercises to help the novelist take writing to another level. The lay out is straight forward and organized to make it easy for reference during the writing process, especially with the writing checklist at the end. The checklist itself is well worth the purchase price, particularly for the writer without much formal training. Just reading that chapter is daunting, but encouraging as well because it takes the mystery out the self-editing process and also helps a newbie to understand that writing a first draft is the easy part, but polishing it can be accomplished with hard work and dedication. I look forward to using this checklist to make my revisions more thorough, more organized, and more effective. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexandra Sokolov's Writing Love.
This is one of my top 4 books for writers.... Along with Vogler's Hero's Journey, The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas, Alexandra Sokolov's Writing Love.
Published 7 days ago by Doug Fullerton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book for editing!
Published 1 month ago by Michelle Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars I like James Scott Bell and I've purchased other books of ...
I have now completed three quarters of this book and haven't read a single word that had anything to do with revisions or self editing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Debbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful book
Excellent book for anyone who wants to improve their writing and story telling.
Published 2 months ago by Mika (My Name is Rio Blog)
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great help!
Loaned to me by a friend and had to buy my own so I could have one. One published friend says she still reads it before revising each book she writes. Lots of great help!
Published 2 months ago by Georgia Salmon
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Edit Your Book The Right Way
I have grown to be a fan of James Scott Bell's books on the writing process. His ideas are sound and logical. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wendy Van Camp
5.0 out of 5 stars James Scott Bell's book was extremely helpful.
I loved that this book validated all my feelings about revisions. The book also provided me with helpful tools on how to attack the revision process.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It clears up a lot of uncertanty for the beginning writer
Published 6 months ago by John M. Garrison
5.0 out of 5 stars My newest novel is strong and full of great twists. I feel like all...
Revision and Self-Editing for Publication changed my approach to writing. My newest novel is strong and full of great twists. Read more
Published 7 months ago by H. Blanton
4.0 out of 5 stars Crushin on his skills
I'm crushing on James Scott Bell's nonfiction skills. Everything you need to polish your book is in here. Great for expanding your writing skills. You never can know enough.
Published 7 months ago by Dione
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More About the Author

For notifications and deals about JSB's new releases, sign up for his occasional update at (the signup box is on the left side of the screen). Your mail box will never be overstuffed nor will your address be shared with anyone else.

JAMES SCOTT BELL is a bestselling and award winning suspense writer, and one of the top writing coaches in the country. He writes in both the traditional and indie publishing realms. Writing as K. Bennett, he is the author of the Mallory Caine, Zombie-at-Law series, which begins with PAY ME IN FLESH. In 2012 he became the first writer to have a self published work nominated for the prestigious International Thriller Writers Award (for the novella ONE MORE LIE). He was the fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written four popular books for the Writers Digest line: Plot & Structure, Revision & Self-Editing, The Art of War for Writers and Conflict & Suspense. Jim taught novel writing at Pepperdine University and continues to teach at numerous writers conferences in the United States, Canada, London, Australia, and New Zealand. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver. He lives and writes in L.A. He blogs weekly at Kill Zone --


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