Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – By Renni Browne & Dave King
(HaperCollins Publishers, 288 pp)
If I had to recommend one book to writers, this might be it. I’ve underlined and dog-eared my copy nearly to death. This isn’t a book about punctuation or line-editing (although there are scattered tips about these things too). Its focus is broader: characterization, POV, dialogue, proportion, repitition. It has one of the clearest discussions of “Show v. Tell” I’ve ever read. The book’s lessons go beyond prescriptive editing advice to touch on craft, style, and sophistication.
The authors highlight their advice with examples and break up the narrative with light-hearted cartoons. At the end of each chapter they use checklists and exercises to reinforce the key points.
Numerous agents have recommended the book at conferences I’ve attended, including Sara Sciuto of Foreword Literary and Carly Watters of P.S. Literary.
A great group of HWG writers came out to discuss the book last Wednesday at Skinny Dugan’s. Join us on July 8th at 6:30 to talk about our next book: A Dash of Style by Noah Lukeman.
HWG Book Club
April 9th, 2014
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — “New York Times Book Review.”
“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — “Los Angeles Times.”
“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing “now,” while we still can.” — “Seattle Times.”
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