- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 2 Sub edition (April 13, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060545690
- ISBN-13: 978-0060545697
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 484 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print 2 Sub Edition
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"A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache.""--Library Journal"
From the Back Cover
Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories. Renni Browne and Dave King are two of the country's best-known independent editors. In their years as president and senior editor of The Editorial Department, they have edited the work of many writers - including bestselling authors - before the manuscripts went out to agents or publishers. Over half the manuscripts worked on to completion eventually got published, and over half that number were first novels. In this book Browne and King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own manuscript, in order to bring your manuscript to its fullest potential. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, interior monologue and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert fiction 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. Every chapter contains hands-on exercises to help you apply these techniques to your own work. And illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist George Booth keep everything in perspective.
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Top customer reviews
Only negative thing I'd say is some of the examples are too long.
I read a lot of help books for writers. This one is on par with the fiction writing bible: Stein On Writing.
Do you write? Do you even have the faintest aspirations of writing? Then read this book. It’s an absolute goldmine of information. I found the first half to be the most useful, though the second half is valuable as well.
This book covers everything from internal monologue to pace, and everything in between, packed with examples and exercises.
I have two minor nitpicks, however. The authors use a staggering amount of examples later on in the book, many of which I feel weren’t necessary. Did they illustrate points? Sure, but they were already well explained on their own.
Secondly, there’s one part of the book, (in the chapter Sophistication), that could’ve been elaborated on. The authors tell us to avoid using the dependent -ing and as structures, (E: Pulling off her gloves, she entered the room), as according to them, “hacks” back in the day were notorious for their usage. Even so, I don’t feel that condemns these structures to eternal hack-ness. Is there some bigger, better reason to avoid them?
Still, as with most of the awesome information in this book, I’d rather just nod my head and keep an eye out for it. They’re the editors, after all, and they’re very aware of the invisible tricks that make a good manuscript tick.
There is no possible way reading this book won’t benefit you. A strong 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This book helped me self-edit my book. I then sent it to a local publishing house. My book made it all the way to Marketing and Sales Department. It wasn't turned down because of grammar or content, simply because the company felt it was hard to come up with a Sales and Marketing package. Now, with a sales and marketing package ready, I'm planning to publish the book myself.
Do buy this book. You won't regret it.
I tell you all that just so you'll know the environment that helped shape the two authors of this book. They truly know their craft, and have proven it repeatedly. Stein himself has said that every fiction writer should read this book at least once a year. As for me, if Stein's two books are the most important books a writer can study, then _Self-Editing for Fiction Writers_ is tied for third with _The Elements of Style_.
Just like Stein's books, the strength of this book is in its ground-level focus on the craft of editing, giving concrete and easily-digested examples and explaining things in a way you don't need a degree in English to understand. And it avoids any lofty or highbrow theory that is of little use to the average writer. No kidding--you sit down and read this book today (it's a quick read) and your writing will be better tomorrow. This book is especially valuable for those who are pursuing publication, as (so it's said) the publishing houses don't edit like they used to. So the closer your book is to a finished product when it hits the desk of the person who will either buy it or reject it, the more likely they will do the former than the latter.
How important is editing? One need look no farther than the original published (and heavily edited) version of Stephen King's _The Stand_. That version was a fantastic book that was reviewed well and sold (as everyone knows) in the millions and still sells to this day. Contrast that with the version published later, the "expanded edition" that was King's original manuscript before an editor laid his axe to it. Bloated, confusing, tedious, and (for this reader) practically unreadable. All that fat the editor cut turned a bad book into a great one. A good example of the fact that the editing is every bit as important as the writing.
If you're a writer, and hope to get published, there are very few books that will be as valuable to you as this one.
And yes, Mr. Stein, I still read it at least once a year, if not more.