Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Editors Bible

Last night I read a very interesting article in the June issue of the Romance Writers Report. It was entitled 'Do It Yourself (Book) Surgery' and was written by Jean Marie Ward. Basically she and a coauthor had written a 165,000 word book that garnered some considerable interest from Samhain Publishing, and they were asked if they could trim it down to 120,000 words. They did, and the article is about how they did it, which I found fascinating.

At the end of the article, the author mentions as 'editors' bible', used in the first edit of all manuscripts. I would LOVE to see this bible or a version of it. Think of the advantage one would have as a writer if her manuscript had already jumped through the first set of 'hoops'. The work would be cleaner, tighter, shorter, and likely a better read. For instance, she mentioned one of the biggies on the list: cutting 'garbage' words like so, that, than, just, and really. Hmmmm...very interesting--although at times, I think those words happen to make a sentence.

Has anyone ever seen a copy of this 'bible'? Is it readily available? Is it 'not so readily but still possibly' available? Do tell.


Christine said...

If you ever get a copy of it, please let me know! I'd love to read through. :)

Diana Peterfreund said...

Hmmmm, this sounds like a tip sheet that they use in house at Samhain (judging from the description in the article). You can probably get the same info from a book like SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, by Renni Brown and Dave King. It's pretty much the go-to book on this topic and, I'll wager, where they got a lot of their ideas.

That being said, I went through and did a that-ectomy of my first manuscript... and the copyeditor put most of them back! So now I don't bother.

Stacy said...

Another book to try is "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman. When I first bought it, I thought it was about revising your opening to catch an agent's attention, which it is, but it's also about strengthening the writing as a whole. Noah Lukeman is a literary agent, and he just shows what agents look at when they evaluate your writing. It's been the most useful book on writing I've purchased.

I also bought "Self Editing for Fiction Writers" but never finished it. It seemed to be very similar to "The First Five Pages."

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks to both Diana and Stacy. I've read SELF-EDITING but don't own it. Perhaps it's time to buy a reference manual of this sort.

Trish Ryan said...

Books like that are so helpful when you reach the point where all your words are blurring together - it's nice to have some plan as you prune, rather than chopping randomly :)

Lara Croft said...

Thanks for visiting my TT. Do you have any tips to share from the Alfred Hitchcock seminar you went to? If so and have time please e-mail me at Thanks - Talk to you later -