Post by Jenny
If I listen carefully, I can almost hear the furious clicking of the keyboards of thousands of NaNoWriMo participants. Hang in there, writers! You’re on the home stretch. When you reach the finish line this Friday, pour yourself a glass of something bubbly and celebrate. Then give yourself the weekend off. And don’t even think about the next step until Monday at the earliest. The very earliest.
You may be tempted to hand off your brand-spankin’-new manuscript to the first available reader. But everyone involved will have a less frustrating experience if you can suffer through at least one thorough round of self-editing first.
Self-editing always reminds me of those “what’s wrong with this picture?” puzzles. There are a whole lot of errors to look for, from the tiniest misplaced apostrophe to the longest run-on sentence since Tolstoy. But fear not, for there are many books about editing novels that will help shine a light on your stylistic flubs, habit words, and pimped-up dialogue tags.
Here’s a partial list to get you started:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print (Renni Brown and Dave King);
Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix, and Finish With Confidence (Roz Morris);
Spunk & Bite: a writer’s guide to punchier, more engaging language & style (Arthur Plotnik);
Revision & Self-Editing: techniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel (James Scott Bell);
Editing made easy – simple rules for effective writing (Bruce Kaplan);
The Complete Guide to Editing Your Fiction (Michael Seidman); and
The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself (Susan Bell)
Look for a book that covers the topics that are most pertinent for you and is written in an engaging style. You want to feel as though you have a friendly editor angel on your shoulder, sprinkling you with magical author dust and whispering gentle tips in your ear. That’s much better than subjecting yourself to the demoralizing devil with the fiery red pen and the sharp-edged ruler.
What’s your favorite reference for self-editing?