Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0399533952
ISBN-10: 0399533958
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elizabeth Lyon, a regular speaker at writing conferences and retreats nationwide, has been a contributor to Writer’s Digest and is a mentor, editor, and teacher for many writers. The author of Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write and The Sell Your Novel Toolkit, she lives in Eugene, Oregon.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1806 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (April 1, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 12, 2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015DWK2C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,859 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. G. King TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've tried several of these books about editing or otherwise improving your fiction manuscript and am usually disappointed, but this one is actually useful. I've long said there should be a straightforward book that teaches what can otherwise take years of study of the market, publishing in general and the different types of fiction. This appears to be it.

Many new (and not so new) writers have little knowledge of the basics of writing a novel. The same 'beginner' mistakes are seen over and over, even with talented writers. Once past that hurdle (which can take years), few know what type of writing they do, so don't know how to effectively refine and market a completed work. Ms. Lyon addresses these issues in a no-nonsense style that gets the point across without preaching or talking down to the reader. Her examples are clear and get the point across. She is obviously well read herself, current on publishing trends and has a good eye for what works and what doesn't.

I've read well-known books that give such poor examples the lessons are rendered useless. In one book, the examples of what not to do are laughably awful. No one would ever make such mistakes, so the lesson is ineffective. In another, the examples of what not to do are from Pulitzer Prize winning novels. Hellooo! Then these egotistical authors, who shall remain anonymous, have the audacity to rewrite the excerpts to show how they should have been done. That was not useful in the extreme. I was unable to finish either of those books because I lost respect for the authors.

On the other hand, Ms. Lyon sites successful authors who are known for the quality she is describing and demonstrates with positive examples.
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Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Lyon's book is a wonderful tool for editing, light on theory and full of technique and examples. It is easily the best book I have read on revision with specific suggestions on all aspects of fiction writing.

Lyon writes both for planners and seat-of-the-pants-ers, with thoughts on structure, style, characterization, and punctuation and syntax. Her style is conversational, clear and supportive. Her examples come from contemporary literature rather than from movies or television, and she assumes that the reader has a manuscript in process. Her book has many good suggestions for creating a first draft, but that is not her focus.

Each chapter has a handy summary-checklist to keep the reader on track with revision. The book is designed to be used as a reference, so that the reader is directed to the chapters which deal with specific approaches and specific difficulties.

Lyon is careful to discuss pitfalls of any approach to writing, such as advantages and disadvantages of single point of view, dual points of view, and author intrusions. She discusses the differences in structure between the hero's journey, as described by Joseph Campbell and the heroine's journey described by Maureen Murdock, and how each fits into a different genre and approach to storytelling.

If you have a manuscript, you need this book now. If you are still thinking about writing, this book will save you hours of revisions later.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first two chapters of this book by themselves are worth the purchase price. Ms. Lyon offers revision techniques which are specific enough to be helpful without being overwhelming. The brief checklists at the end of each chapter sum up her suggestions so you can avoid having to thumb through the entire book repeatedly.

I am keeping this one as a reference. It is not a one-time only read.
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Format: Paperback
From the back cover: "From the first chapter to the last, Manuscript Makeover will show you how to revise and rewrite for a cohesive and consistent story line, strong and memorable characters, and a distinctive style. With this indispensable guide, you can create compelling stories that attract literary agents, editors, and publishers."

Where would we be without how-to books on the multitude of subjects that make up good writing. These books remind me of what I like to call, iron gizmos, those things imbedded at the edge of a highway to keep us from drifting onto the shoulder. Thud, thud, thud, pay attention, keep focused. That said, good how-to books do much more than that, but the difficulty is finding one that, #1 you can understand, #2 you don't fall asleep reading #3 that excites and inspires #4 seems to be written just for you and your project.

I confess to having read (and used) all of Author Elizabeth Lyon's previous how-to books: A Writer's Guide to Fiction, The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit, A Writer's Guide to Nonfiction, and Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write. My expectations, therefore, for Manuscript Makeover, were understandably very high. Lyon's latest book does not disappoint. It lays out for the reader a continuum of valuable guidelines on the journey to good and confident writing and revision. And thankfully, it sails through the #1 to #4 criteria with flying colors.

The 347 page book is divided into four parts:

· Style Speaks,
· Craft Works
· Characterization Endures
· Marketing Pays

Each of the four parts is then divided into subsections that cover things like viewpoint, movement and suspense, time and pace, structure, and a variety of approaches on characterization.
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