Write Better Fiction: Learn How To Edit

Today on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover Learning to Edit. Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor.

Now that we are fifteen episodes into Write Better Fiction, you’ve probably guessed I have a passion for learning how to edit, and since I blog about the writing process, I wanted to share a little story with you.

I believe to become a better writer, I needed to learn to edit my own story. What about you?  Before sending your story to beta readers, writers’ critique groups, or to an editor, don’t you want your story to be the best you can make it?

The story I’m going to share with you involves Jodie Renner, editor & award-winning author

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.33.47 AM

Early last fall, Jodie put out a call for submissions for short stories written about British Columbia. The accepted entries would be published in the Voices From The Valleys anthology. I submitted Deirdre Hunting Season, and Jodie accepted it into the anthology.

Once I stopped jumping up and down, and doing the happy dance, I read through Jodie’s website. As all proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to Doctors Without Borders, Jodie asked for volunteers to help proofread. So with a great cause in mind, I volunteered.

Jodie sent me each story she accepted into the anthology and asked for my comments. Over the course of several months, I read every submission that Jodie accepted, sent her my comments and then read the final version.

This gave me the opportunity to see what Jodie did with her edits. It gave me time to read a story, not just because it was a wonderful story, but to read with the eye of an editor. It made me think about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. About word choice, head hopping, and inconsistencies in the story line.

So if you’re looking to improve your editing skills, why not find a project where you can volunteer your time, help a good cause, and learn at the same time?

Besides learning from an expert, Jodie was kind enough to mention me in the acknowledgment section of Voices From The Valleys. Tell me that’s not a thrill.

To entice you to read Voices From the Valleys, Jodie has posted excerpts from all contributing authors at http://www.jodierenner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/VOICES-FROM-THE-VALLEYS-EXCERPTS.pdf

I’ve put the excerpt from Deirdre Hunting Season below…

Next week, I’ll return to Write Better Fiction with Scene Middles.

Thank you, Jodie!

Deirdre Hunting Season

Excerpt as published in Voices From The Valleys

Due to the shortage of deer in the area, our community restricted deer hunting to bucks with four point antlers. The doe in the area needed more males. Well, so did I. I was forty years old, and my buck just married a doe half his age.

In our small town nestled between the Rockies and the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, everyone knew everyone. I did the books for half a dozen businesses on Main Street and was known as the accountant with the cheating husband. That’s me. Failure at marriage extraordinaire. What did I do to deserve this? I’m a rule follower. I do good deeds. I volunteer. I’ve never even received a parking ticket. So what happened in my life surprised me.

The day mother nature blew the leaves off my tree, I came home unexpectedly. We’d hired a local company to clean our air ducts, and the guy doing the work was supposed to come the following day. He called and asked if I could meet him a day early. I rushed home, even though I was busy, unlocked the front door, and headed toward the back of the house. I’d told him I’d leave the kitchen door open for him.

Fifteen years of marriage pinholed to one moment. A naked woman standing in my kitchen, leaning against my sink, drinking water from my glass.

“Hey, Babe. Get back here. I don’t have much time,” my then husband called from our bedroom.

The glass of water froze at the babe’s lips as if she’d stuck her tongue on a metal swing set in winter. I recognized her from my husband’s office. Deirdre something-or-other.


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