Revision & Self-Editing Review

Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel - James Scott Bell

Perfect for beginners

Let me just start by saying that this book would be ideal for writers who have no experience writing. Why do I say this? Because the first half of the book is dedicated to small summaries of how you could (should maybe) write and examples of plot etc. (the basics). I’m not saying the first half is useless, but I didn’t find anything new in there, and it wasn’t that relevant to the title of the book (a little misleading).



I like Bell’s tone throughout the book. He has an excellent voice and is easy to read and understand. He clearly states whose books you should emulate (to become a best seller) and gives examples of say opening lines or paragraphs from Stephen King or other thriller writers. I guess this book wasn’t directed to fantasy audiences as I noticed most of the examples he quoted were thrillers.



I would go as far as to say I found his revision techniques at odds with my own (but it’s good to see and experiment with them). Unfortunately for this review, I can’t quote off the top of my head what he suggested. But I remember him writing that revision for your first book should take a while and that your first draft is utter crap. I guess he expects all authors just to write down uninhibited what they think the story should be, or how it should go. My first draft was crap, but not that far out from what I expected as I had planned the story from the beginning. So, I haven’t been able to use his techniques for revision. I think he also suggested you have a log of all that your character says, so you can keep it consistent. Well, I appreciate that would work, that’s a bit too far out of the scope for how I want to revise.



If you want techniques for revision, this book does have them (just in the second half). I would recommend you get this book out on loan if possible. Bell has an easy to read and conversational style that will keep you reading through the book. The only thing I find is that the title is a little misleading.