Self-editing Fiction that Sells

self-editSelf-editing Fiction that Sells is a practical guide on how to spot your own bad writing. Have you written a novel or short story? How can you tell whether your story is strong enough? If your plot is structured well, if your narrative is compelling, your point of view consistent and your characterisation convincing? Moreover, how do you assess if there is market value in your manuscript? This guide will show you all this and more. Most importantly, it will teach you the editing mindset – a critical thinking mindset, as opposed to the creative thinking mindset that writing requires – that is setting yourself in opposition to your manuscript, as an editor would do.

Packed with examples and exercises, the guide will prove an invaluable tool for those writers looking to improve what they’ve already written.

Table of Contents


Who is this book for?

What is bad writing?

Entertaining your audience

What is success for a genre book?

No rules except ‘The Rule’

How to use this book

1 Getting the plot right

How can a plot go wrong?

2 Improving the narrative

Determining the point of view

Using the right tense

Pacing your story

Creating and placing cliffhangers

3 Achieving a good style

Telling, not showing

Avoiding excessive adverbs and adjectives

Revising dialogue: Ockham’s razor

Resisting the urge to explain: overwriting

Being aware of other common style flaws

4 Perfecting characterisation

Choosing the right names

Avoiding block characterisation

Recognising unempathic characters

Avoiding dull characters: John Smith and Jane Roe

Discarding ‘Random Jim’ characters

Being aware of stereotypical ‘Australian Sheila’ characters

Developing ‘Rigid Jim’ characters

Dealing with inconsistent characterisation

Adding complexity to underdeveloped characters

Toning down overdeveloped characters

Informing readers about unknown villains

5 Crafting memorable scenes and atmosphere

How to recognise a poor scene

Making appropriate word choices

Using unnecessary words

Overcoming a lack of dramatic effect

Achieving the best setting for your characters

6 Elements of copy-editing and basic copy preparation

Understanding the different roles of the development editor and the copy-editor

Complying with house style

Getting to grips with grammar, punctuation, spelling, clarity and concision

7 Getting published

Making an action plan

Knowing your readers

Getting feedback

How to approach a literary agent

Approaching independent editors and literary consultants

How to handle criticism of your writing

Is self-publishing a viable option for you?

Conclusion: Self-editing is worth the effort



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