If we want to be successful authors then we need to take editing seriously. It’s no good writing a first draft and publishing it, you’ll only get bad reviews and make readers cranky. Some of those readers are ruthless – I once had one make a quality complaint to Amazon because I had twice spelt veggie as vegie. (When I corrected it I found I had actually done it three times. Ha – take that spelling Nazi!)
Sure, we need to use professional editors, but we also need to do as much as we can ourselves to make our manuscripts as flawless as possible. Spelling and grammar is only one aspect of editing. Do our paragraphs contain unnecessary words, our story unnecessary scenes? Does the story flow effortlessly or is the reader left scratching their heads trying to work out what happened? All of this is also part of the editing process.
Here are some of the editing books I’ve read in my effort to become a better writer:
Self-Editing For Fiction Writers
This was the first editing book I read. It was an eye-opening experience as up to that point I thought editing pertained merely to spelling and grammar.
They cover: show don’t tell, characterisation and exposition, point of view, proportion, dialogue mechanics, interior monologue, voice and beats as well as other techniques. They also provide examples on each of their points and exercises for you to do to improve your writing.
This book will help you write a cleaner first draft and get the most out of revision and self-editing techniques. It will teach you how to revise a completed draft using a check list that covers everything from character, plot and opening through to exposition, voice and point of view, settings and descriptions, dialogue and themes.
Like all of James Scott Bell’s books he provides you with exercises to help you utilise the knowledge he is imparting in his book.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglusi have cleverly constructed a tool which examines the internal and external signs caused by the different emotions. I find this invaluable for helping with ‘showing not telling’ while writing, and I keep it in my favorite writing book pile next to my computer.
Well to be totally honest, I bought the kindle version which is fantastic, because you can easily navigate to the emotion you are interested in without having to flick through an entire book. All I can say is buy this if you are serious about producing good content in your novels.
This book is actually more of a ‘how to teach grammar’ book, and contains ten lessons for teaching grammar in a fun and inviting way. In saying that, I personally got a lot out of this book – which probably says something about the level of my grammar.
I would recommend this book to anyone teaching English as well as anyone who wants to improve their own grasp on punctuation and grammar. His lessons cover: serial commas, colons, capitilisation, apostrophes, simple sentences, verb choice, appositives, paragraphs, compound sentences and dialogue.