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Writing Advice & Discussion > From a Random House Editor - What Being an Editor Taught Me About Writing -

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message 1: by Chris (last edited Apr 16, 2019 07:36AM) (new)

Chris Mitchell (chrisjmitchell) | 8 comments https://lithub.com/what-being-an-edit...

Some great advice here from an editor/writer (Anna Pitoniak) and her experience with editing multiple books. It's likely a lot of you have heard this or very similar advice before, but worth a read over.

The point about "Skip the Stage Directions" is so true. It's not engaging to read that the character walks from 'A to B.' This advice, is also very much part of the "show, don't tell" approach to writing, and is another good example of how 'telling' can be boring.

I was by chance thinking exactly about this same thing the other day, and jotted down a quick example below:

Brian, the mage, walked up to the castles secret entrance. Down a corridor and then to the steps of the tower.

Or

The Mage’s spirit lifted at the sight of the castle. Skirting the boundary and avoiding the guards he enters through a secret passage. In the darkness, he felt his way along the cold, damp wall.

I prefer the second paragraph, although sometimes getting the point is just as good. I guess its all within the balance of the words/flow on the page.


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex | 118 comments I prefer the second paragraph also. There are details and the character confronts obstacles. The reader wants the story told, but the writer has to retard the telling.


message 3: by Michele (new)

Michele Machado (michelemachado) | 19 comments The Beginning is the Most Important
The reality of being an editor is that we read submissions quickly, and form judgments about them from a small number of pages. The beginning matters; it matters more than any other part of the book. As a writer, you only have so long to hook the reader. It doesn’t matter if, later on, the book is filled with gorgeous prose and heart-stopping suspense.

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This article is amazing....thank you for sharing it!


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Mitchell (chrisjmitchell) | 8 comments Alex wrote: "I prefer the second paragraph also. There are details and the character confronts obstacles. The reader wants the story told, but the writer has to retard the telling."

Thanks Alex, this definitely the case, it was like Stephen King said: If it doesn't relate to the story don't include it. Although, at times, it can be a fine balance as to what is included and what is not.


message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris Mitchell (chrisjmitchell) | 8 comments Michele wrote: "The Beginning is the Most Important
The reality of being an editor is that we read submissions quickly, and form judgments about them from a small number of pages. The beginning matters; it matters..."


Thanks Michele - Glad it was was useful :)


message 6: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Sommers (aaronsommers) | 1 comments The first paragraph is the reader’s first impression—and often the most polished. Makes me think of the popularity of flash fiction—basically, a compressed story.


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