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James Scott Bell is my hero. An electrifying speaker. I picked up his book at the Writer’s Digest Conference a few months ago. He takes a page-turning, straight-forward approach to revision and self-editing in his book, Revision & Self-Editing.
You forget you’re reading a book because you’d swear he was right there breaking everything down for you. His conversational tone totally won me over.
An accomplished writer, he’s living the dream. In this book, he shares his knowledge on revision. He’s not kidding about providing techniques that transform your first draft into a finished novel.
After each chapter, I felt my brain smoothing out with new insight. By the time I finished his book, I understood what was wrong with my first manuscript.
I applied what I learned to the book I have slaved over for 2 years. A book I knew was complete. A book I’d queried and gotten full requests on.
In four days, I cut 6,000 words.
Mr. Bell gave me the tools I needed to see what wasn’t working in my manuscript. I’m eternally grateful to him.
This is a reference tool that is chock full of useful techniques, concepts, and real life examples to guide me throughout my writing career.
One of my favorites?
The Neil Simon note saying, I can fix it. Which reminds me ANYTHING CAN BE FIXED.
Isn’t that a phenomenal concept? All the bad parts of my novel can be worked out. Once I know they aren’t working. How empowering.
Revision & Self-Editing are tackled separately. The Self-Editing subsections covers such major points in the novel as: Character, POV, Plot & Conflict, Scenes, Dialogue, Show vs. Tell, Setting and Description. The Revision section covers similar points and provides a Revision Checklist.
This book is a must buy for first time and accomplished authors.
If you are going to pick up one book on revision and self editing. THIS IS THE BOOK.
One of the biggest problems I’ve had with my manuscript is point of view (POV). Originally, I started with multiple points of view. Then I encountered head hopping, where I would jump amongst perspectives in one scene. It was BAD. So I revised to limited multiple POV with 5 main characters. Still disjointed.
I moved to 2 main character POV. Then I realized the characters didn’t feel real enough. So I switched to first person. And that’s when my characters became life-like. I had to remember everything told from the “I” point of view was necessarily skewed by the character’s perspective. If she said someone was mean, it didn’t make it true. Ah nuances. Fun. Then came the hard part: revealing characters other sides without the protagonist necessarily changing her opinion even if the reader might.
I’ve heard that third person POV is the most popular now, but for me, I love first person. I love immersing myself in that character even when she interprets things wrong. I love the challenge of bringing other characters to life by their actions and interactions with the protagonist.
I thank my lucky stars that I experimented with POV in the same story, it was an invaluable learning experience, forcing me to retell the story. It restructured my novel. At first, I worried I’d lose the flavor of each character, but I think when done carefully first person POV still gives you a cast of living breathing supporting characters.
What do you think? Do you write in third person or first person? Do you have multiple points of view, only one, or a limited number? What works best for you and why?