Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Self-Editing

I'm back. They're doing the outside today. It's noisy but I can work.

The wonderful book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003JBI2YI/), suggests that you print sections of your manuscript to review it and make notes in the margins. Using the computer, they say, tempts you to fix things on the fly. They are right. That's what I do. So I tried it their way. Instead of printouts, I use the iPad's iBook app. It lets me make notes and highlight blocks of text that need work, but it does not accept changes. Just like paper although without killing any trees. (Yawn, old homily, sorry.)

Their way is better. It keeps me from scattering my attention all over the work. Focus, focus.

Most of my writing and editing in the past was with non-fiction. With fiction, however, there is a laundry list of issues--dialogue, scenes, points of view, and so on--that the non-fiction writer does not need to address. The Browne and King book is a must-have. But don't expect to read and understand it before you've knocked out a fiction manuscript or two. You probably wouldn't relate to a lot of what it teaches, not having already made those mistakes. I find myself reading a chapter of B&K and then reviewing four work-in-progress manuscripts and highlighting areas of concern.

They're tearing the sides off my studio. I may have to go get a haircut or something.

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