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Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers
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Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  66 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
185 practical techniques for improving your story or novel
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 24th 1988 by Plume
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Hannah Greendale
Revising Fiction is not without merit, but it's a bit too dated to be of much use.
Feb 27, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
This obscure gem really opened up my eyes. Madden examines early and later drafts of fiction classic works. He shows how these great authors wrote and rewrote their classic books many times. He presents a good thorough list of questions to ask yourself as you revise your own fiction. He discusses point of view, style, character development, narrative, dialog, description and devices. I don't really understand why this book isn't better known. It deserves to be on the shelf of every writer.
Jo Deurbrouck
Oct 06, 2009 Jo Deurbrouck marked it as to-read
Recommended by a writer friend in a back and forth about favorite books on writing. Here's what she said:

"It's set up as question and answer, it has lots of examples of revisions and it has a whole original and revised short story to study at the end of the book. Parts of the book aren't as coherent or profound as Gardner [The Art of Fiction:], but it's still a great resource. Few books on writing address revision directly, which is stupid -- revision is what it's all about! I think the current
Oct 02, 2011 Jillian rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, on-writing
I was initially skeptical of this book; it seemed to have more quote lists and novel spoilers than insightful and practical advice. But it improved and ended up being very helpful overall. The table of contents doubles nicely as a comprehensive revision checklist. The selections that showed how Faulkner, Woolf, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, etc. rewrote some of their most famous passages were fascinating as well.
Melinda Jane Harrison
Jun 02, 2015 Melinda Jane Harrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all writers after first draft of book 2 is finished.
Very good book with great list of questions on writing. Not all are needed. But a very useful list and small, brief, but concise examples. Liked it a lot. I made my own revision list from this book, a list that fit my book and needs. This is the one book along with Kaplan's that I would recommend to writers.
Aug 23, 2015 Duane rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's a treasure. I wish I could find a new version because my copy is falling apart. The pages are brown.

This book is not just a cookbook. It helps thinking about style, techniques, and generating effects.
Dec 27, 2009 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
Presented in a Q&A format, this book challenges writers to reexamine their works of fiction from a variety of angles. Should be required reading for all aspiring authors.
Jan 11, 2013 Ashkrisb rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite instructional book. I used it for teaching creative writing and I also use it for my own writing. It is simply a great tool for any writer.
Gabriel Orgrease
Dec 18, 2010 Gabriel Orgrease rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-tools
Very helpful toward improving habits and skills of rewriting.
Lauren Dostal
Finally finished this one! It is not exactly a page turner, but it does offer some really great wisdom on the practice of revision through before and after examples from famous or well known works of literature. The general idea is, of course, a conscious mind towards the technical nature of your writing, regularly reimagining scenes, dialogue, description, etc. in new ways using all the available tools and techniques in order to find the most effective way to tell your story. Very informative, ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This is a GOOD writing book. The author examines books by well-known authors and presents a good list of questions writers should ask themselves as they write or revise their own fiction. Although the book is titled, Revising Fiction, it would be good for many writers to read this while they are in the process of writing. Madden discusses many aspects of writing, including point of view, style, character development, narrative, dialog and description. I'm glad I found this book and have recommen ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Radical rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books on writing that I've read. I enjoyed his emphasis on comparing different editions of books, or even authors' published notes, to point out what changed and explain why. It's an excellent analysis of the process.
Elizabeth Andrew
Apr 10, 2013 Elizabeth Andrew rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-on-writing
A book full of good advice in an impossible-to-apply format. It's also unreadable. AND he gives no guidance for the order in which to make the changes he's suggesting.
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