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The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist: A Book for Writers, Teachers, Publishers, and Anyone Else Devoted to Fiction
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The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist: A Book for Writers, Teachers, Publishers, and Anyone Else Devoted to Fiction

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  72 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
"Lucid, thoughtful…writers and teachers will learn much from it…Belongs wherever Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style finds frequent use."—Booklist

"Writers will actually learn things here."—Los Angeles Times

"Perfect for teachers, critics and general readers."—Library Journal

"Required reading for all those who care about good fiction."—Kirkus Reviews

Drawing upon twenty-
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Paperback, Second Edition, Revised, 167 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Paul Dry Books (first published 1988)
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Robin
Jul 20, 2009 Robin rated it it was ok
A simple tag for this book might be "Erudite". Or perhaps "Repetitive".

I found it disappointing. The back cover says --

"McCormack gives practical guidance about how to plan, write, and revise a novel. ... He details how to structure the novel, choose the characters, drive the story, diagnose narrative ailments, and find and apply specific remedies."

Except -- he doesn't. What advice there is must be painstakingly picked out from McCormack's harping that 'editors need a textbook of craft'. After r
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Sarah
Mar 23, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Sarah by: Rose Green
This technical book, written for editors, tends to be repetitious but was worth my time. McCormack believes the craft of editing can be taught.

The book is divided into 4 parts.

The first section, “Reading requires Sensibility,” explains why an editor needs to be able to respond as “an appropriate reader would.”

The second section of the book is “Reading requires Sensibility and Craft.” Surface faults and internal failures, ways to diagnose problems, and possible solutions are mentioned. Some ways
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Jessica Colund
As shocking as it may sound, many books on editing fail to give helpful, practical advice. This book succeeds where others have failed. McCormack's chapter on craft stands out like a shining beacon in the field of publishing books. Because of that chapter alone, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to write, edit, or teach fiction (or even non-fiction, which is actually what I want to edit).

McCormack's ideas on sensibility (you either have it or you don’t) are interesting and, in some place
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Lavinia Ludlow
Jan 05, 2016 Lavinia Ludlow rated it it was amazing
If you're an avid reader, this will change your perspective. If you're a writer, this will change your life.

Formal personal essay combined with a review pending...
Shawn Scarber
Oct 26, 2015 Shawn Scarber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at fiction and the skills of an editor in particular

As a writer of short fiction, I'm always interested in discovering some new storytelling gem. This book uncovers a few. This is one editor's attempt to layout the foundation for a means of instructing an editor. However, if you're an author looking to improve your craft, this book presents an opinionated means of evaluating and considering good fiction. Not as structured as I would like, but overall the book works to deliver
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Suzie Quint
while this book is addressed to everyone interested in the publishing industry, it seems that the primary intended audience is editors. The author Thomas McCormack was an editor for over 30 years and at the time of publication served as Chairman and Editorial Director of St. Martin’s Press. Impressive credentials.

According to him, the two primary skills an editor needs are a highly developed sensibility and craft skills. Now, when he says “craft,” he means editing craft.

Sensibility is about how
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Rachel Pollock
Dec 10, 2014 Rachel Pollock rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned, writing
Yeah, not what i hoped it would be. Another short book, purportedly on the process of editing of novels once picked up by a publisher, but really, this felt like it was 203984 times longer. What a slog through a quagmire of pontificatory grousing and protracted, belabored metaphors. Sometimes it felt like a writing textbook, except it was so obfuscative, half the time i lost track of what he was bitching about as stylistic or structural problems before i got to the end of the paragraph. And it p ...more
Andy
Jan 18, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing
A great read for editors and writers. McCormack has some strong opinions, and you'll likely find a few things to disagree with, but that only means you've read something that makes you think.And who could fault a book for that?
LeAnne
Feb 16, 2016 LeAnne rated it liked it
I found his tips helpful when I was getting my first editing jobs. It's the author's book. The editor's job is to figure out what the author wants to do and help him do it more effectively. He rants a bit on editors not doing their job.
Chris
Jun 30, 2011 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This trite piece of crap is something like a graduate student turned publisher/editor's blog, if blogs existed in the 80s. He's whiny, uppity, and really enjoys the view from his personal pedestal. He thinks he knows it all, and talks down toward you for the entire book.

I grant that I skimmed this; however, this is not the sort of book you want to spend time to read. It's cheap and wasteful, and really obnoxious. The few good points he makes are marred by his general incompetence. Read something
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René López Villmar
May 24, 2011 René López Villmar rated it it was ok
Engaging and entertaining, but ultimately misguided, The Fiction Editor is a book that calls towards the making professional editors and yet it depends on flimsy prejudices and misapprehensions to makes it point. Good for thought, and good for its valor, but lacks real argumentation and a real knowledge of the novel.
RJW
Jul 07, 2009 RJW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book five stars because while it is not in my typical genre choice, I think that anyone writing a book, editing, or teaching, should read this book. It has a lot of valuable information that I will revisit time and time again.
Denise Ortakales
May 31, 2009 Denise Ortakales rated it it was amazing
This book gave me a different perspective on writing, and gave me a few new tools in my craft box that I hadn't previously owned. Perhaps I had, but they were presented in a way that resonated with me.
Jenni
Jul 31, 2007 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: critical-essays
Very interesting. Is meant as sort of a textbook for editors, but is also helpful for writers. He gets very technical, talks a lot about specific problems in novels and how to solve them as an editor.
Stephanie
Sep 27, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stephanie by: Daniel Weaver
I found McCormack to be endearingly cranky--he refreshingly does not pretend not to be a real person, which makes his advice that much more trustworthy to me.
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“An author needs a lot more than one person to succumb to his literary seductive charms, but, like Saul, he must realize that he doesn't have to--and indeed cannot--capture the hearts of every possible reader out there. No matter who the writer, his ideal intended audience is only a small faction of all the living readers. Name the most widely read authors you can think of--from Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens to Robert Waller, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling--and the immense majority of book-buyers out there actively decline to read them.” 2 likes
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