Write Great Fiction Revision and Self-Editing
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Write Great Fiction Revision and Self-Editing (Write Great Fiction)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  582 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Don't let the revision process intimidate you any longer. Discover how to successfully transform your first draft into a polished final draft readers won't be able to forget.

In "Write Great Fiction: Revision & Self-Editing," James Scott Bell draws on his experience as a novelist and instructor to provide specific revision tips geared toward the first read-through, as w...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Writers Digest Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Newton Tio Nitro
Existem muitos livros com dicas e técnicas para escritores em inglês, mas poucos tão divertidos de se ler quanto o Revision and Self-Editing, do escritor e professor James Scott Bell. Esse é um dos livros mais famosos entre os guias para escritores, principalmente por causa do seu foco em técnicas para revisão e edição de textos ficcionais. Revision and Self é principalmente indicando o que se deve fazer depois que se escreve a Primeira Versão de um livro (a técnica americana de escrever um livr...more
Jordan Castillo Price
Since Mr. Bell’s earlier writing book, Plot and Structure, is one of my all-time favorites, and since I’m currently in the midst of a huge revision of a stalled novel, I was eager to get my hands on this book. I didn’t feel the contents and its title really did each other justice.

Much of the advice is about creating the right amount of conflict to keep a story plugging along. There are useful chapters on crafting a solid beginning, middle and end. Avoiding dry exposition is explained. And there’...more
Ashlee Willis
Amazing book for anyone revising a novel. I hate revision, but some of the great tips and angles that Bell gave in this book made me want to jump right in and tackle it! :) Think I may have to buy this one at some point ...
Imagine after a bit of soul searching you came to the conclusion that you were in a co dependent relationship and you needed information as to how to improve yourself. You want to make the relationship work, so you get a book called, "Reality & Self Respect: Techniques for Transforming Your Relationship into a Healthy One." As you're reading it you realize the quality and research is amazing. About 1/4 into the book though, the author starts talking about narcissism and how it affects those...more
Exercises, advice, encouragement, and practical next-steps abound in this revision how-to guide. I've even become a better reader since starting this book, because I have been shown how to spot and appreciate good writing. As I go through the revision process on my own work, I anticipate turning back to this book again in the future to see how I'm doing. It felt like taking a class (in a good way) complete with homework, and for a tiny fraction of the cost of another degree!
James Scott Bell offers great advice on editing, deepening your story, and making sure the structure of your book is sound. Many of the exercises will be useful during the several rounds of revision necessary to produce a readable and memorable fiction book. I found much here to add to my revision tools. I'll be revisiting this book often.
The last chapter, the checklist, in Revision and Self-Editing is the most useful; I'm currently using it to leave no stone unturned during my revision process. There are good reasons that James Scott Bell's book on writing are perennial favorites and best sellers. I return to them time after time for the concise, common sense advice.
Firstly, I want to say how I loved this book. This series has a way with keeping me interested!

Secondly, I read another review that stated this book was 80% how to write and 20% how to edit. And at first I agreed with them. But then I sat down and thought about it.

Editing and revising are just going back and polishing up what you've written, adding in more characters or deleting some to make it better! How can you do this if you don't understand the basics well? When I read through the first pa...more
There is SO MUCH great stuff in here for novelists. Each page is full of great exercises and tips. This almost serves as a reference book that you can pull out whenever you get stuck and need a boost.
Rita Webb
An excellent, wonderful, tremendous book on the art of self-editing. Great examples from great authors, explaining what they did and why it worked and how you can do it too.
Troy Blackford
This is an exhaustive and incredibly helpful book that covers all aspects of revision and self-editing for fiction writers from a variety of angles. You'll find all manner of helpful tips and useful techniques outlined in this lengthy book, along with a number of checklists and exercises to help you go over your manuscript at all phases of compositions and all stages of drafting. As I said, this is incredibly helpful and includes examples from a wide range of books and movies. An entertainingly...more
Full review at http://yannabe.com/2009/09/30/review-...

Summary: A national bestselling author and writing teacher lays out a plan for revising your novel’s first draft.

Review: I wish I could roll up all the tips in this book into some Silly Putty and stick it directly on my brain.

So far, I’ve flipped through about 20 different revision books. Most of those books were too abstract in their advice, and some others (while excellent) were focused on line editing. I needed a book to guide me on the m...more
James Scott Bell is my hero. An electrifying speaker. I picked up his book at the Writer’s Digest Conference a few months ago. He takes a page-turning, straight-forward approach to revision and self-editing in his book, Revision & Self-Editing.

You forget you’re reading a book because you’d swear he was right there breaking everything down for you. His conversational tone totally won me over.

An accomplished writer, he’s living the dream. In this book, he shares his knowledge on revision. He’s...more
Julie Luekenga
With so few publishing companies and agents truly developing writer-editor relationships anymore, I found this book helpful and necessary for explaining the vital ingredients for writing a novel that will keep readers interested and a recipe for revision that will help you create the best book possible before you query agents.

I've read several books on writing fiction, but this one was packed with information, concise, clear and offered me many good ideas to work with as I have another look at...more
There's so much great stuff here that I might bump this up to five stars once I've worked through it.

I particularly liked that Bell emphasizes practice and experimentation in sharpening the elements of your novel. A lot of this work can (should?) be done before you even start writing the draft, and many of the exercises in the first 75% of the book can easily be applied to projects you're still developing. In fact, there were several I wish I'd already done, because then I'd have even better re...more
Monica Rodriguez
Revision & Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell, is a terrific guide for anyone working on a second (or third) draft of her or his novel. It covers all stages of editing and revising, with exercises to help you put your new knowledge to work. The first part, on self-editing, Bell calls a "sort of writing boot camp," with chapters on character, story structure, point of view, dialogue, setting, voice, showing & telling, theme, and exposition. The second part gives the writer an approach to r...more
April 28 - May 12, 2014
I admit, this time around I skimmed until I reached the Revision status, but that's because I'm looking at this book more as a guidebook for the story that I'm actually revising. :D

July 20-25, 2013
I absolutely love this book and would recommend it to any writer.

I am an aspiring writer who has never actually revised a novel. I just got the writing part down, now I need to learn how to go to the next step. I had no idea how I was going to do that, so I read this book before...more
I read this book with a pencil in my hand, drawing a mindmap, so later I quickly can review what I learned from it. I started to write short while ago, and I'm studying writing advices since then. I finished the first draft of my novel, so I thought it's time to get a book on editing. I thought I had some idea on editing, and I only needed to fill in some holes. Now I see how big those holes were.

Reading through this book some may say that the majority of the advice concerns writing the first dr...more
Great writing book and a nice section on the editing process. As others have mentioned, about 75% of the book is writing advice and the last portion is the actual editing process. I found it all useful, but wished that ratio was reversed.

I think it's humorous that a book on revision should quote Heinlein's rules of writing, but omit rule three "You must refrain from re-writing, except to editorial order." Of course, I don't think Heinlein meant you shouldn't improve your work before submitting...more
Kathy Mcdonough
James Scott Bell writes with ease about revision and editing. A lot of people don't like to revise and edit. I have the opposite problem. I love to tweak and putsy around in the land of revising and editing. I can play with a piece of writing forever. James Scott Bell's book helps me focus and get out of that land. If a manuscript is going to move on it has to move on. This book helped me move on.
Destine Williams
I will not lie... This book is just amazing. It put names to techniques I knew existed and it was easy to pick up on ones that I wasn't aware of. I wish I had hard copy so I could highlight and annotate all of the little writing gems in this book. This book has literally boosted my confidence to say I know exactly what I'm doing as a writer and it has earned every single star I'm giving it and more.
Josh L Martin
The book is very well done. It was one of those times when I wish I would've come across this earlier. Mr. Bell has done a wonderful job of bringing all the various sources, books, & articles around editing that I've come across into one useful volume. Every chapter gives you exercises on how to apply the techniques outlined--very effective & easy exercises.
More than just a technical manual on editing, Mr. Bell provides deep insight & expert advice on how to be a better writer &...more
Melissa Menten
This book has many wonderful tips on novel writing and revising. Sprinkled throughout are exercises to help the novelist take writing to another level. The lay out is straight forward and organized to make it easy for reference during the writing process, especially with the writing checklist at the end. The checklist itself is well worth the purchase price, particularly for the writer without much formal training. Just reading that chapter is daunting, but encouraging as well because it takes t...more
Greg Scowen
James Scott Bell (Plot & Structure) is back in the final book of the Write Great Fiction series to show us all how to revise and self-edit. Loosely translated, this is where we actually start to really write.

This is a brilliant guide on the finer points of how to spot mistakes, common problems all writers let slip through, and how to trim down your manuscript. The tips contained within resulted in many large edits of my debut work.

Despite the brilliance of this title, however, no author shou...more
Roger Hyttinen
I admit that I borrowed this book from a library, read it and then logged onto Amazon to purchase a copy for myself. This is the second of Mr. Bell's work that I have read and find this particular work relevant to any writer. Lots of essential information on how to revise your novel draft. Recommended.
James Scott Bell just knows how to teach.

He doesn't waste any words in any one area. He covers the pertinent information effeciently and in ways that make sense.

The hardest part for me, now, is applying what I've learned.

In his book, he says that it's a continuous process, that when we read books on writing, we must digest it and apply it during the creative process as well as the revising process. The revising process, for me, is the hardest part. At the end of a novel, I want nothing more than...more
The opening of this book is where most authors talk about why they wrote it to begin with. This author, however, uses the space to talk about all the aspiring authors who have come to him with dog-eared copies of this book, chocked full of sticky notes and highlighted pages. These people, he tells us, rave about how they never write a novel without this book as a guideline.

The book is a like a broad spectrum antibiotic that tells you all the most right things any famous author or movie ever did...more
Nada Faris
At first I considered giving the book 4 stars because it gave me elements of writing fiction rather than tips and techniques for editing. In buying the book I assumed I'd get tips on how to catch my loose prose or typos and maybe even how to stay on top of my formatting, to make sure that no heading or bullet list is out of place. In other words, how to edit my second draft, not how to rewrite my first draft according to the elements of fiction writing (how to make characters interesting, how to...more
I read this book after reading The art of war from writers and was severely disappointed. A lot of the same points were made in this book and it didn't feel like a revision or self-editing book. I was looking more for how to improve upon an already written story but this book gave me a very distinctive 'how to write' lecture. I think if it had a different name, it would be a decent book, but, as is, the title was certainly misleading.
Fantastic book filled with principles, examples, suggestions, checklists, exercises, and just the right dose of encouragement. I have it marked up like a college textbook (but it was much more fun to read.) This book inspired me to make my novel leaner, tighter, better. I actually got some new ideas while reading this book that I can wait to incorporate. I found out about this book from a free Writer's Digest webinar on youtube that Bell did, in which he discusses some of his main revision and s...more
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  • Description & Setting
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • Plot
  • Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story.
  • Description
  • Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
  • The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
Jim is a former trial lawyer who now writes and speaks full time. He is the bestselling author of Try Dying, No Legal Grounds, Presumed Guilty, Glimpses of Paradise, Breach of Promise and several other thrillers. He is a winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Inspirational Fiction, and was a fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine. He has written two books in the Writers' Digest serie...more
More about James Scott Bell...
Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish The Art of War for Writers Presumed Guilty Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between Try Dying

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