Books: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

>> Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The first of two books I'm required to read for a workshop I'm attending in July, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a no-nonsense, practical guide to better writing. Authors Renni Brown and Dave King cover everything from the usual "Show, Don't Tell" advice, to more complicated topics like "Dialogue Mechanics" and "Using Beats."

Most interesting to me was the chapter on "Proportion." This is something I have a natural problem with - writing passages with detail that is disproportionate to its importance. As an example, in the first draft of my as-yet unsold middle grade adventure After School Heroes, I had long chapter that followed a super hero as he ran along rooftops chasing a car on the street below. For pages and pages I described - in what I came to realize was agonizing detail - every jump, every dodge, every leap. Rereading it, I knew something was wrong - but I couldn't explain it. Now I have a word for it - "proportion" - and I not only now know what I'm looking for, I know how to fix it.

There was also good advice about voice, and something I've never seen before: realistic advice on how to cultivate your own voice. I'll be using their techniques the next time I edit my next book - and that should be soon.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a great resource for new and aspiring writers.


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