author, creative writing, writers, writing

3 must-have books on novel editing

Editing; it’s one of those love/hate parts of being a writer. Whether you enjoy the process or loathe it, it is an unavoidable and essential part of the novel writing process. And you will likely edit the same manuscript not once, not twice, but three, four, five….you get the idea! There are many resources out there for editing, including books dedicated to the matter. Here are three must-have books on editing that I’d recommend to writers who need a little support and advice.

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript

I picked up this book while browsing a Barnes and Noble in New York (a real dream for an English girl!). It’s a really useful tool, with checklists and advice that you can go through while editing to ensure you’ve got the basics of a good story down. It’s a helpful guide, and I love the checklist element, as you can flick through it any time for a quick tighten up of your work.

Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing

This book I think could actually be read before writing, as well as during the editing process. It has some really great thoughts, advice, and focus on developing your characters based on their drive and motives, and ensuring you know what the stakes are for each character. Reading this recently, I wish I’d read it during my planning stage, but it’s absolutely playing a huge part in strengthening my story now as I edit.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

I’d refer to this as a ‘starter’ book, perfect for first-time writers, editing their first manuscript. This was the first book on writing I ever bought, and it goes through everything from dialogue to point of view. A fantastic starting point, well written, and helpful.

Do you have any books you swear by for editing? If so, share in the comments below!

Until then,
Keep writing (and editing!)

Find me on Instagram and Twitter

10 thoughts on “3 must-have books on novel editing”

  1. Those are great books, once you get started. I do my own editing, but I also use another editor to look for content issues. She once told me, “Bob, your character would never say something like that!” She really gets into my stories and understands my characters.

    However, getting started was tough for me. First, I found “Stephen King On Writing.” I was surprised at how helpful he was for a new writer. I was never a fan of Stephen King, but his advice on how to start writing was fantastic!

    Then I found a wonderful book on characters, both finding them and developing them. Baer Charlton’s book, “I Drink Coffe and Make Up Shit” has been a great help. Baer uses people from real life in his novels, and they come alive. I really recommend that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in the midst of revising my MG novel. In addition to books, I’ve found reading articles an blog posts from other writers and instructors very helpful. Some of these are on Tin House, Poets & Writers Magazine, and the Kenyon Review. I also remember to make the distinction between revising and editing. I made the mistake of polishing a first chapter which ended up being tossed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.