Book Review # 4

Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell was a good read, however; the first section of it I felt like I'd read before. Only the back third of the book focused on revision and editing, the first part was a thorough review of the basics. Frankly, after reading no less than twenty-five other books on the basics of novel writing, I rarely find more than two or three new ideas or concepts in those sorts of books.

However, I did find the review refreshing, especially the action tags section. I remembered this chapter from Bell's book, Plot and Structure, but found the second time through worthwhile.

The revision section provided some useful insights, but what I was really looking for I found somewhere else. I wanted a checklist to streamline my revision process. Shout out to J. Engle for finding a solid article online that spelled it out. I'll get the mechanics and devote another post to it, but basically the idea is to break the editing process into phases and go after issues in a specific order, instead of slogging through your ms fixing everything line by line as you go. Think about it, does it really make sense to fix up sentences in a paragraph you may end up cutting entirely in the end?

If you haven't read Plot and Structure you can kill two birds with one stone by reading this gem instead. As always, Bell's explanations are humorous, helpful, and inspiring. He remains one of my fave teachers and I remain his young padawan.