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Revision help!!!
Turquoise Foster
Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:35 PM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

Hello! I am new to writing and I do not have hundreds of dollars on editing even though it is an important step in creating a novel. I was wondering if anyone knew any good step editing/revision books? I want to give it a try before I break down and pay someone.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 3:03 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Hi Turquoise -

There's a blog post on Book Country that actually talks about several great writing books. This may be helpful to you!


Lisa Hoekstra
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 5:07 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 89

Hi Turquiose,

I don't have any good books per say (just my text books from uni & etc), but like Colleen says there are tons of great links & suggestions in the blog posts and the discussion forums here. I know Jay has a bunch of links too... 

You could also post your work here with a request for editing help - I've noticed that a lot of people are really quite good at finding the "snags" in a text that has been "polished" by the author... I can also take a look to when I get the chance. None of this replaces the quality editing that a professional editor will do for a fee, but it might help... 

Turquoise Foster
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:01 PM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

Colleen- Thank you! I'll be looking at that link in a few minutes. 
Lisa- Once I complete my full MS I will be posting a new draft dedicated for editing purposes. I'm just trying to explore all of the options.  
Steve Yudewitz
Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 11:18 AM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 24

Hi Turquoise,

A few years ago I came across an article about one pass manuscript revision on Holly Lisle's site that I found interesting. It gave me a different perspective on the editing process. I still use some aspects of this approach when reviewing chapters for friends and for fine tuning my own work.  Here's the url: http://hollylisle.com/one-pass-manuscript-revision-from-first-draft-to-last-in-one-cycle/ .

I'm probably not telling you anything that you haven't heard before, but editing can be painful and time consuming, but ultimately it is rewarding.  Each editing pass brings you closer to revealing the story as it needs to be told.

Turquoise Foster
Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 12:01 PM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

Thank you Steve! I am looking over the information now and so far so good. I think I may use this method once my first draft is completed.
GD Deckard
Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 9:01 AM

Only you will know if this works for you, but here's what I start with when I want to do some "basic editing" on a chapter.

SEARCH & FIND & ELIMINATE SUPEREFLOUS WORDS - In my case, these are they:

was, were
had, had been
Eliminate if referring back to something stated, unless used for emphasis. Replace with specific verbs wherever possible.

Delete superfluous use as modifier.

Contractions may be used for informal speech; full spelling for emphasis or formality.

THEN I check for words or phrases that I already know I overuse. (My characters may smile & nod like bobble heads if I'm not watching them.)

FINALLY I print & read the section I am editing:
Check PoV: Is PoV clear?
Does the writing flow? Has it been chopped up by my editing?
Should I expand on characters, settings or plot?
End with a Spell & Grammar Check.

Turquoise Foster
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:57 PM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

I think this method would be great for me as a first edit method. It makes it seem like a less daunting task. Thank you, GD!
Carl E Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 3:03 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

@GD: I chuckled at your remark there: "My characters may smile & nod like bobble heads if I'm not watching them."

I laugh because I recognize the problem: having your characters do something to inject a beat into the text, via some sort of small movement. There's a short story I'm working on where I've turned into Snoopy paw-pounding away at his typewriter: "He cocked his head . . . Strike that. Cleared his throat . . . Nonsense. Narrowed his eyes . . . Impossible. Cracked his knuckles . . . Ridiculous . . ."

@Turquoise: See how we agonize, TF? This might not be the kind of editing you were refering to, but it never ends: choices and consequences . . . 

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 12:43 AM

Okay, first question: are you certain you’re ready for a
professional editing? Are you writing on a professional level? Editors don’t turn rough drafts into publishable work, remember. They don’t teach, either. They catch mistakes you’re already capable of correcting but missed because you’re too close to the work. After all, if they could turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse wouldn’t they be making a lot more money writing and selling their own work?

Given that, if your editor says, “This section is too passive,” or “You need to better define the protagonist’s scene-goal,” or “there’s too much telling in this section,” will you know exactly how to fix it?

Question two: Are you providing the story from the POV of the character, and in real-time? Or are you telling the story aloud from the storyteller’s viewpoint, as if the reader can hear the emotion in your voice, and see the images you visualized as you wrote. I ask because telling the story, as a narration, on the page, reads like a graphic novel with the pictures removed. In fact, it might be instructive to look at this, a page from a clever graphic novel, and look at how much better it is with the pictures than it would be had you read the prose without them: http://www.funbrain.com/comics/lostsideofsuburbia/index.html?pubdate=100820 (you might also enjoy the story. Back up a few pages to the beginning, then just mouse the page to advance. I love both the art and the imagination. It's kind of a Dr. Seuss for adults)

I mention this because many of the stories posted here read like a graphic novel without the pictures. An editor can’t fix them because they have to be revised to make use of the techniques the pros use to make pictures unnecessary. If your work reads that way it would pay to dig into the craft of the fiction writer a bit. That would cost about $20 for a really good book like Dwight Swain’s, Deb Dixon’s, or Jack Bickham’s, as against many hundreds of dollars for even a cheap editing. And when you’re done, you no longer need that editor.

The short version:
“They can’t yank a novelist the way they can a pitcher. A novelist has to go the full nine, even if it kills him.”   ~ Ernest Hemingway

Amanda Kimberley
Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 10:32 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 69

I think everyone is making some valid points here.  Editors most definitely will be your second set of eyes when it comes to your writing.  A good one will make your work flow so well that it will look like you are the one who did the "polishing".  Yes, they can be expensive but many are willing to work with your budget.

We all have to self-edit before we send anything off to anyone else and when we do this we must tie up our creative muse and stick them in the closet so our editor can rip apart our little darling.  The process can be torturing to our creative muse, but it must be done in order for our work to flow for the reader.

Writer's Digest has a great article this month (Nov/Dec 2012 issue) entitled "The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing" by Janice Gable Bashman and Kathryn Craft.  It's very informative and I must admit that when I first started, I fell prey to more than one of those sins.  My biggest sins were "Gluttony" and "Pride".

Kay P
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012 2:35 PM
Joined: 10/11/2012
Posts: 13

Hi Turquoise. I'm also really new here and to the whole idea of putting my work online (day 2 after signing up). I stumbled on your writing "Divine Serendipity" the first time I checked this site out, assuming that you are talking about this work. I only got through a few pages of the 1st chapter since I had to study for midterms but I agree with what most people are saying. There are a lot of noticeable mistakes that you can catch your self like the spellings, grammar, and the run on sentences, pov's, checking for loose ends etc...and I'm not sure if it'll help you but my Professor once told me to read my work from the ending to beginning to catch other mistakes that you might've looked over since your brain memorizes the story in the correct order (honestly, that really helps me when I'm turning in assignments).

For myself, I wouldn't necessarily pay an editor yet until I gathered a great amount of following readers which would give me confidence enough to get professional editing and submit to a publisher (also assuming that you'd eventually want to). There are a few other legit websites just like this and you try getting some more feedback. I can post them later. Also, it seems people on here are more than willing to help you catch some mistakes.

Sorry for my rambling time is running out before I have to head back to class. I'm going to finish reading the rest of "D. Serendipity" and provide you with an honest feedback. I'm working on my first chapter of my book (it seems that we're sorta interested in the same genre's and my story is also for young adults). Anyway, do stop by and comment when its up.

Good luck

Turquoise Foster
Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:52 AM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

This is a rough for draft and it will go through many rewrites. I've actually found a couple of good priced editors that I am excited about working with. Thank you for your responses. 
Michael R Hagan
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 4:21 AM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

Hi Turquoise
It's cheeky to ask perhaps, but I'd love to know how you get on with the good priced editors.
I'm kinda hoping to use this site as a semi-editing service. One catches so many mistakes and typos when casting a fresh pair of eyes over someone elses work than one does when revisiting ones own (though they are present and numerous I'm sure.... and that's alot of 'ones')Best of luck!

Turquoise Foster
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 12:22 PM
Joined: 8/26/2012
Posts: 19

I've been searching for months and still am searching and looking at reviews.
Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:01 AM
Joined: 2/11/2014
Posts: 2

Hello!  I've written a book of poems that needs revising in many as I did not expect.  My question is where do I begin and with what do I begin with first?  Will it be the formatting of my poems written or will it be the spelling and grammar?

Phoolmatee Dubay

Rob Emery
Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:08 AM
Joined: 3/4/2014
Posts: 18

      I don't pretend to know everything about the editing process, but short of hiring another pair of eyes to go over your work, I'd try cold reading.  I pound out a rough draft to get my story line laid down.  Whether it is a page, chapter or the whole manuscript, I lay it aside and let it grow cold for a week or two and go on to other business.  This sort of gets the story out of your mind.  Then go back and re-read and edit one page at a time. 

     At some time before publishing your tome of delight get another pair of eyes on the work. I know an English teacher. You may know of a critique group who will look at your work as you go along.  I once joined a writers guild with critique group within. I ran a completed manuscript one chapter at a time by them about 3/4 of the way through.  I totally rewrote the complete book because of these fine people.


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