Self-Editing For Fiction Writers

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & David King

Pub: 2004

4 of 5 stars

A guide for writers at all levels to help them improve their work by looking at common issues and how to fix them.  Each chapter includes exercises to practice.

You want your readers to pay attention to your dialogue, not the means by which you get it to them.

I’ve spent the last five months in the never-ending world of novel editing, working on the story that I wrote back in November.  This book was highly recommended on a writing message board that I frequent, and from the description, it seemed like it might be just the thing that I needed to polish up my narrative.

This book gives a very clear, concise, and practical approach to editing, pointing out issues in areas of writing where amateur (and not-so-amateur) writers often fall short, including:

  • Showing vs Telling
  • Proportion
  • Dialogue Mechanics
  • Beats
  • Repetition

I found this book to be incredibly helpful.  I was able to apply many of the sections to my own editing, and found that some of the advice I had been given made much more sense when shown in this book through the authors’ numerous examples.  For instance, the section on dialogue mechanics really struck a chord with me, making me think of dialogue tags in a way I hadn’t before.  Some of these examples were from works in progress, but others from literary novels not only gave a clear picture of the topic, but also served as an interesting study in how what is acceptable in writing has developed over time.

There were some sections where the examples got a bit lengthy, and I personally did not do all of the end-of-chapter exercises, but I would definitely recommend this book for aspiring writers as a guide to critically examine their work.


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