As promised here is part 2 of my "Books a Romance Writer Can't Live Without" series of posts. You can find part 1 of this series here.
Today I'd like to cover the editing books that I love and continually refer to. So you may be asking yourself, why would you need more than one editing book? The answer my friends is that each of these awesome tomes imparts a different perspective and approach to editing, but each one is a must read for anyone serious about cleaning up their manuscript for submission to a publishing house or agent. And for those of you who go the indie or hybrid indie route, these are great to read, because in many case the more work an editor has to spend on your manuscript, the more money you'll have to pay.
So here goes...
1.) Revision and Self Editing for Publication AND 2.) Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
These books are basically your ULTIMATE guide to step by step editing. When I purchased these books I didn't realize that they would be practically identical (actually written by the same person). but I don't regret either purchase. I keep one in my office and the other on my nightstand for some "light" reading. My favorite thing about this book is that it covers EVERYTHING. Plot, character development, dialogue, setting, emotions...It's great. There's even a chapter titled "The Ultimate Revision Checklist". Yup there is an actual chapter dedicated to helping you find problems and better yet, it also provides common fixes. It's not just a "Oh you have a lot of adverbs there, guess you f-ed up." It provides you with ways to correct the issues that need fixing. For me, someone who can barely cook rice without a rice cooker, this is phenomenal. I highly recommend purchasing either one of these books (or both). It's a definite must in my author library.
3.) Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
Okay so I saved the best for last. This is the book you read AFTER you finish your first manuscript and before you begin tinkering and revising your first draft. This is the book that will kick you in the chins and shine an ugly light on the book you just birthed through blood, sweat and tears. Just take a deep breath and crank that halogen bulb up. This book gives you a higher level look at editing. Although each chapter ends with a checklist of things to look for in your ms and exercises for practice, the beauty of this book lies in its ability to get you to really think about the overall structure of your book and each scene that you've included. After the first two chapters you will find yourself questioning whether some scenes are even necessary for your story. Is your dialogue stilted? Are your characters related? Basically it forces you to be honest. Something that is very difficult to do after you've spent hours getting the words out of your head into print. Buy this book, read it. Spend a few hours crying because you just didn't realize how little you knew. Then pull your big pants on and get to revising. You'll thank yourself later.
Okay so that's the end of this post. Tomorrow I'll cover some books I reference for story structure, setting and emotion.
Talk to you soon,