Effective Editing by Molly McCowan

There’s a myriad of writing books out there, but not that many on editing, so I thought I’d give this “course” a try (especially as Audible said I had to listen to it by the end of the week or lose my free copy). So I did.

It’s a good round-up of received wisdom and serves as a great reminder of what to do, and especially, what order to do it in when it comes to editing your book of fiction or narrative non-fiction.

What was really nifty was the 120-page pdf that came with it that summarised all the important points, featured a checklist of how to structure your novel based on beats from Save the Cat as well as this useful graph of the relative importance and order of editing tasks to do it in (Hint: start at the bottom of the pyramid).

Original? No. Useful? Hell yeah, if you need a reminder that copy editing and proofing are a waste of time if you haven’t got the developmental stuff right. Aka, doing the easy stuff will never make your sucky book good. Just like when painting a picture, if you don’t get the shape of the head right, no amount of fiddling around with the eyelashes will make your prortrait pretty.

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No. 8 of 50 books I intend to read and review in 2022.

I’m Patrick Sherriff, an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at my conversation school in Abiko, Japan, I write and illustrate textbooks for non-native speakers of English, release Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, paint, sketch and write essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good writing in English, often about about Japan, art, crime fiction and teaching.