Review of Self Editing for Fiction Writers

By Renni Browne and Dave King

The authors of this informative book are both professional editors with decades of experience in the industry between them.

Despite their authority, they use a very conversational voice and show rather than tell. Examples of what to do and what not to do abound and each chapter is finished off with a short checklist of the main points to keep in mind and a few exercises.

The tips they give cover all aspects of the editing process, from pure mechanics to stylistic elements.

There are a total of twelve chapters, each focusing on a specific mistake that writers are prone to. Not only do they offer suggestions about how to edit these out, they have examples from both published works and samples from novice writers. This allows readers to feel less pressure about their own mistakes since even well known and well-respected writers are not perfect.

Some of the exercises even ask you to edit passages from classic works or modern masters based upon the principles discussed in the chapter. Answers to these exercises, or at least what the authors regard as a good edit of the passage in question are provided in the end of the book to help fiction writers on their way to mastering self-editing.

Editing is probably one of the hardest things any writer has to do. Self-editing is made even harder because the work is our own and we’re inclined to cut ourselves a lot of slack. By following the principles in this book and approaching editing in a systematic manner, we can all improve our writing.

-Alda Yuan


Categories: Book Reviews


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