Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Report: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King.

There are lots of books out there about craft. There are lots about technique and story. There are lots that focus on getting the story onto the page, but there are very few about what to do with it once it's there. This book aims to fill that gap at least partially, and I believe it does an admirable job.

The layout is simple: each chapter tackles some fixable weakness the authors frequently see in manuscripts from both novice and experienced writers. They describe how to recognize it, discuss methods of addressing it and provide how-to/before-and-after examples. Each chapter finishes with a checklist and a series of exercises (which, I admit, I didn't do).

Reading through this while reading over the Magnus Somnium has made me aware of several weaknesses in my work that need to be addressed. As I revise, I'm going to refer to the checklists frequently because I believe that practicing the principles outlined there will help me fix many of the flaws in my manuscript. I think that's probably the highest praise one can heap on a book about editing.

That, and this'll be sitting on my shelf right beside Strunk and White.

Ulysses Rating: 5 - I will read this again and again.

1 comment:

csmith said...

Sounds fantastic and useful enough that I have grabbed a copy.

Well, something has to make me stop wandering around in ever widening circles of ignorance!

Good luck