- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Harpercollins (March 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062720465
- ISBN-13: 978-0062720467
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 83 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print
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There's not much of the old-style editing going on at publishing houses today. Renni Browne, veteran of William Morrow and other publishers, founded the Editorial Department in 1980 to teach fiction writers the techniques professional editors (many of whom have gone independent) use to prepare a manuscript for publication. In this book, she and senior editor Dave King share their accumulated expertise in a series of brilliantly compact lessons. One page from their simply and markedly improved version of a scene from The Great Gatsby alone would make a compelling advertisement for their techniques. Very highly recommended. --MTB
From Library Journal
Both novice and seasoned fiction writers can ensure themselves greater publishing success by correcting textual problems before submitting their manuscripts to an editor. This exemplary instruction manual offers readers the wisdom of two experienced editors who focus on writing/editing techniques (the mechanics of dialog, characterization, point of view, etc.). Adhering to fiction's underlying principle of "show and tell," this lively text includes both good and bad examples in each lesson. At the end of every chapter is a tip checklist to match against one's own work and two or three exercises with which to practice and reinforce the chapter's topic. A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache.
- Cathy Sabol, Northern Virginia Community Coll., Manassas
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
An honest-to-god opportunity to sit down with editors and glean what makes a good novel and how to improve a mediocre one. Your writing will improve by leaps and bounds by this one book. Mine did and I'm an indentured servant to the authors from this day forth - for sure!
BUY IT. READ IT. LEARN IT. SCRIBE IT.
The book is filled with examples and exercises, many of which are taken from well-known published writers. Seeing how to do things right is invaluable to me. Here's one example just off the top of my head: voice. I can't think of any other writing book I've read so far that gave even a hint about how to develop a writer's voice. Brown and King's suggestions there was deceptively simple but revelatory.
The discussion ranges from exclamation points to profanity (both are suggested to be used sparingly...especially the exclamation points) and the author not only provide advice, they back it up with those useful examples I mentioned above.
This book belongs on every writer's bookshelf...actually, not on the bookshelf, it belongs on their writing desk. For new writers, start with this book. You won't be sorry.
I was looking for info in which to strengthen my work. Get rid of the -ly adverbs and things such as telling how a character felt instead of letting the character speak for him or herself. That's just the half of it. Other things were knowing something was wrong with my work, but having no clue what it was, or if I did know, then having no clue on how to fix it.
Now there's no problem. Everything that I needed was in this book. The book explains how to balance dialogue with narrative, how not to weaken your work of fiction with overly poetic composition. There's much more. Such as trying not to force a voice you don't have. How to find your own voice. Basically everything. There's not one thing in this book that wasn't covered that had been a problem for me at some point or another. Now it seems that I have no more problems whatsoever, except maybe a little brush up on my grammar.
The entire book is well organized into 12 chapters that can be thought of as helping you work through 12 major weaknesses (plus many minor ones). It explains thoroughly on how many novices end up looking like novices or amateur writers by trying not to. For example, by trying to avoid the overuse of "he said," by replacing it with similar statements like he replied, he yelled, he blurted out. But that quickly draws attention to readers or editors and publishers that that's an act of a novice or just as bad--it draws the reader away from the story.
Also there's the chapter that helps greatly on keeping your characters from sounding too stiff and unrealistic. I thought I had all that worked out... then I read the chapter and found out that I was wrong.
And for those like me who have been looking for years for an organized system in which you may go through a creative writing process and then edit your work in a way that doesn't require you to become overwhelmed, or require you to intermix your editing with your writing. You will start to see just how it can be done as soon as pick the book up and start reading through several chapters. You'll know how to separate the two, and finally, what to edit and how to edit it.
The book is not missing any single problem that all writers haven't been through at one time or another. You double this book up with a good punctuation book or grammar book (just to strengthen your knowledge to help you avoid grammar problems) then you'll have a sure path to getting yourself published if you've got the ambition.
Most importantly, I think this book is a big blessing for people like me who might feel like if anyone else edited their work then it really isn't their work entirely.
Most recent customer reviews
VERY frustrating, as the information I CAN read is brilliant.