I just attended a workshop at the library on the subject of self-editing your novel with Jennifer Sawyer Fisher of JSF Editorial. She gave us a good deal of great information, and plenty of examples to help drive the points home.
In no particular order, here are a few of my takeaways:
- I might have to cut back on the subplots
- Trying to push through and edit a full-length novel all in one sitting would be as silly as trying to write the thing all in one sitting.
- Writing and editing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Okay, I made this one up. But it’s still the basic gist of what she said.
- One day, when I write a murder mystery, the rule of thumb is a death in the first three chapters. Don’t need this now, but I’m just filing away the info for later.
- Hiring a good editor is worth every penny. Though Ms. Fisher didn’t specifically say this, I think it was implied. And probably very true.
- This I’ve heard before, but it bears repeating: just because there are super-long books on the bookstore shelves doesn’t mean a first time author is going to get a super-long book published. Cut the fluff.
- When it comes to accepting or rejecting an editor’s, agent’s, or publisher’s suggestions for your book, go with your gut.
- Also not news, but worth repeating: action verbs, action verbs, action verbs.
- I need to stop using the same word so many times in a single sentence/paragraph (for example, I just edited a second word “session” out of my sentence below and replaced it with “workshop”).
- Full page paragraphs are a big no-no.
It was an inspiring session. Thanks to Ms. Fisher and everyone at the Hudson Library and Historical Society who made the workshop possible!
Have you received a great piece of writing or editing advice lately? Please share in the comments.