- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 2 edition (December 31, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599637065
- ISBN-13: 978-1599637068
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells 2nd Edition
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.
I was tempted to knock off 1 star, because on the back cover there's a so-called Bonus online exclusive: A downloadable printable version of the Ultimate Revision Checklist, which, on going online (WritersDigest.com/revision-self-editing-publication) found a message that said the material had been "relocated" elsewhere on the site. Further investigation proved futile. But, hey, it's in the book, right? So I can pardon that.
And so I do. A definite 5 star recommendation.
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.
Thumbs down. I like James Scott Bell and I've purchased other books of his, extremely helpful books. As far as the writing process goes - this one is good too - lots of helpful advice. That I'd already read in some of his other books. Nothing on revisions and self-editing though - which is why I bought the book. Feeling a little ripped off here.