Demisty Bellinger's Reviews > The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself

The Artful Edit by Susan Bell
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's review
May 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: writing
Read from May 07 to June 01, 2012

If you attended a good MFA program, or a good Ph.D. in creative writing (or in any field with intensive and extensive writing), Bell's The Artful Edit will serve as a great refresher, or maybe a supplementary text with one or two more ideas/techniques you can add to your self-editing toolbox. But if you are a novice at editing, self or otherwise, I can see this being an important book to read.

That being said, this text can be used in an advanced, undergraduate writing class. Bell offers, as well as the writers whom she quotes extensively, lots of advice for those who have finished a solid first or second draft and are asking, "Now what? Not yet ready for submission or an agent, so how do I make it ready?" I can easily see this text used in the classroom, maybe even taught along side The Great Gatsby, which she uses as an edited masterpiece and example, if not some other short and well worked novel.

What is remarkable about this book is that Bell offers so many other voices here of not only writers of fiction, but of an art critic, a film editor, and of professional editors. I don't ever feel bogged down with quoted text as I do with other books on writing. Instead, those other writers' words on revising and editing offers sometimes reinforcements to Bell's words, or alternative views.

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