Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Revising Fiction Book Review

A big thank you to Peg Hanchar for reviewing this book!

REVISING FICTION: Making Sense of the Madness/The Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Self-Editing by Kirt Hickman

Perhaps the reason Mr. Hickman has chosen such an endless title for this book is that he wanted to make it perfectly clear exactly how thorough his book is in the approach to self editing or maybe he just didn't follow his on advice on the subject. At any rate, his is an ambitious undertaking covering most everything to do with writing and editing a book. For easy and quick reference, he's broken the subject matter into chapters which cover the concept of theme, word building to case studies. In between he's crowded information such as character development, plot basics, building suspense, character arc, research, the purpose of a scene as opposed to puppet scenses, the pitfalls of static conversation, resolving suspense elements, enhancing your settings, chapter breaks, prologues, exposition and where to place your information to reveal plot and character in the best way, scene structures and openings, the difference between show and tell, showing emotions, ending a scene, length of a scene, building tension, point of view, character consistency, and introducing and describing characters.

Whew, everything we ever wanted to know about writing. An ambitious undertaking, indeed. At the end of each chapter Mr. Hickman provides and encourages the reader a chance to partake in a writing exercise to use the just learned information. The information hits the mark in many areas and should be a real asset for a serious writer. Although some of the 'stuff' as he refers to his information is clearly meant for the beginning writer, there's plenty for an experienced writer to learn as well, even if it's just to brush up on old skills that may have become sloppy.

Mr. Hickman thoughtfully provided a free copy to our writing group, which was a clever promotional ploy, but in fact, I would pay to have a copy of this book on my shelf.

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