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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni…
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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (1993)

by Renni Browne

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There's some very useful information in this book. What I like about this book is that it gives lots of examples. It's a 'look and see' type of book, rather than waffling on about nothing. It has lots of clips from books and uses these to illustrate various points. Some of the points take a bit of seeing, but perseverance is key. Most of it is straight forward and cunning.

I do wish they had printed it on some decent paper so that the pages didn't flop about like a dead fish when you are trying to read it, but that cannot really be blamed on the authors or editors.

This is the second time I've read this book. It was worth going over the basics again, several years after the first reading. In a strange twist, the paper seems to have improved with age. It no longer flops about.

( )
  peterjameswest | Nov 21, 2014 |
Which is more important for the budding writer — writing or re-writing? Are they even separable? Certainly the catalyst for the latter and spur to improved execution of the former is self-editing: reading over what you have written and finding ways to improve it. In this breezy survey of things to look for when you self-edit, the two authors gently introduce such subjects as “Show and Tell,” “Point of View,” “Dialogue Mechanics,” and “Voice.” Numerous exemplars from published novels are used as well as submissions from their own workshops which demonstrate the flaws. Each chapter ends with a checklist of the important points covered therein and a few exercises for the reader to put their new editing skills to the test.

I suppose each fiction writer will find a different chapter or set of chapters that will be of most use. For me, the advice found in the early chapters - “Resist the Urge to Explain,” or RUE for short - was definitely on the mark. Likewise the frequent recommendation to read your writing aloud in order to hear its flaws is apt. I also found the penultimate chapter, “Sophistication,” which concentrates on how to avoid the tired phraseology of hacks to be interesting.

This isn’t the last book on editing that you are likely to read, but it may be a useful one. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Nov 11, 2014 |
This was the second book I did as a group read with a couple other authors. I think I'd actually read the first edition years ago (and the second edition this go-round). Self-Editing for Fiction Writers covers a good range of basics along with somewhat more advanced techniques, making it a good investment in that you can return to it every now and again and possibly take something new from it each time. Solid advice, easy to understand. The book does cover line-editing-level stuff much more than developmental editing, so I would recommend it for authors who are nearing their final draft, after they've finished fixing any structural/character development/etc. issues—when they're ready to start polishing. ( )
  Z.Rider | Sep 22, 2014 |
This is an incredibly helpful book for novelists [and would-be novelists]. I have used it for each of my books. [b:Rashi's Daughters, Book 1: Joheved|136960|Rashi's Daughters, Book 1 Joheved|Maggie Anton|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172087171s/136960.jpg|131994] and [b:Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book 1 - Apprentice|16045976|Rav Hisda's Daughter Book 1 - Apprentice|Maggie Anton|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1348543795s/16045976.jpg|21824809]and it has been invaluable. I cannot recommend it highly enough. ( )
  Maggie.Anton | Jul 18, 2014 |
As I read this book, I didn't think it would be useful. Then I got to the second half, and it got a lot better.

The first discusses a lot of standards that orange-green belt writers should already know. Like "showing vs. telling" and point of view. If you've read the good writing books like "On Writing", "Characters and Viewpoint", and "Dare to Be a Great Writer: 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction", then you know those basics.

However, some of the later tips do come in handy for reaching that blue belt, like proportion, unsophisticated prose, and the writing exercises. You'd be amazed how often you write something, know in the back of your head that it's stupid, but still fail to fully recognize it. That's why I still check out the writing books from time to time, even though I now see that "On Writing", the first and basically my bible, has screwed me up somewhat.

It's certainly better than "Bird by Bird". ( )
  theWallflower | Mar 26, 2014 |
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In memory of Edwin Spotswood Dillard,
without whom there might be no Editorial Department,
nor would there be a Renni Dillard Browne.
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Why self-editing?
Because self-editing is probably the only kind of editing your manuscript will ever get.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060545690, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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." "In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Brown and King have edited."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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