Seamless Self-Editing––Part VI

Self Editing for Fiction Writers

Self Editing for Fiction Writers

For the next couple weeks, I’ll be referring back to a resource I used a year or so ago, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. A few months ago, I met Robert Whitlow, a successful suspense author, who said this book taught him how to write. He was a prosperous attorney in the South, as well. Some of his novels have been made into movies. You can check out his website here.

Prospective authors must learn how to edit their own work to the point where a publisher will consider it as is. Click to Tweet #amwriting #publishready

Show v. Tell

Anton Chekhov, noted 19th century author and playwright, once said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This was a century before this kind of writing began to become the standard, which it now is.

Readers want their books to be like movies they see or television they watch. The story must unfold before them. Most journalists are telling stories, except when they do on-the-spot reporting, and they’re to talk about the wind roaring in their ears, the rain beating against their face like ice blades.

Chekhov quoteCharacterization and Exposition

Characterization––you want to give just enough details about your character, physically and their personality, to paint an outline of them. You need to map out the character’s history, you know it all, but you don’t tell the reader everything you know.

Exposition of Characterization––there are numerous ways to explain your character, and exposition is only one of them. Other characters can discuss the character, and provide hints and details in possibly a more interesting way than exposition might. Sometimes, however, it is the best way.

Point of View

You need to establish at the beginning of your story who it’s about, and who is showing the story. There is First Person, yet fairly limited. It is the most intimate because the character’s thoughts and motivations are more clearly spelled out in the text.

Most writers find it easier to write in Third Person, deep POV. Deep POV is fairly new, and coincides with the rise of Show v. Tell. The easiest way to explain deep POV is that you take a scene from a character’s POV, write it in First Person, then change the pronouns to Third Person.

Next week, we’ll continue with nuggets from this resource, that will help you become seamless in your own self-editing. The tagline of this book is “How to edit yourself into print.” We’d all love to be published. Learning how to self-edit our manuscripts will increase our probability that even a small publisher with limited resources would be interested in seeing our book. We will be publish-ready. Click to Tweet #amwriting #publishready

What about you? What self-editing tips and tricks can you share? Leave a comment and let me know.

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