I finished reading it and found it very helpful, not just for editing, but for writing in general.
Thought I would share my notes and a few "nuggets" I took away from this book (though you should still buy it!)
1) Show vs Tell
- in long strings of dialogue - intersperse "beats" - little pieces of action.
- don't tell feelings - she felt depressed, she was anxious. Rewrite in action.
- use narrative scene strategically - when you purposely want to give the reader a break or when it pushes the story forward.
- Definition: process of giving character information through words, actions, and thoughts.
- show personality traits through action (if your character is shy, show it in the action. don't say - she is shy).
- do not summarize character up front - work it into the scene.
- be sure you give enough description throughout to help reader picture physical traits.
- definition -inform, explain or describe plots elements in description, flashback, or narrative.
- give only enough background as needed to the story (not entire background).
- bring these pieces out naturally.
- convert long narratives that describe a process into an action scene.
- look for places where dialogue is really exposition in disguise
4) Point of View
- First person - most intimate POV; cannot write about anything your character cant know.
- Omniscience - when you gain perspective but you lose intimacy.
- 3rd - a continuum in between the first 2 POVs.
- 1st person lets you write with narrative intimacy that sometimes you can convey emotions that even the character is not quite aware of.
- Sometimes it is more effective to stick with one POV and show other characters emotions through dialogue and actions again describing only what main POV could know.
- establish POV in very beginning/first scene if possible.
- misjudgement - writer undermines readers with blow-by-blow. focus on major points of scene. don't need to fill in every detail, leave some to the reader.
- too much detail - if you are writing about a hobby or interest of your character - be sure you balance what readers want to know with what you want to share.
- cutting - don't cut too much. difference between those that harmonize with story and those that drag down story.
- focus on what is important to story.
- read the first 50 pages - what do you spend most of your time on?
- if you have plot element that is supposed to be a surprise - don't focus on it.
- makes sure most of your materials advances character or plot.
- do not explain dialogue - "what are you talking about?" she said in astonishment. put astonishment in the action or inflection or wording.
- look for adverbs - slowly, softly.
- when clarifying speaker attributions, stick to said (not offered, inquired, asked). others interrupt dialogue.
- don't need adverbs with said.
- don't open paragraph with He said. put said at first natural break in sentence.
- put name in front of said. David said. NOT said David.
- decide how you are going to call character and stick with same thing for the entire scene. Hughie for scene. Next scene can be Hugh. Don't mix them up it is distracting to reader.
- replace a said with "beats" - pieces of action, especially if more than 2 people are in the scene. (use discreetly).
- uses dashes - (interruption) and ellipses ... (trailing off).
- New paragraph for each new speaker.
I''ll do the rest tomorrow.