How to polish your novels and short stories – a comprehensive guide including a 170+ tips checklist.
In this book we look at:
– the components of your story;
– points of view;
– the power of three: beginnings, middles, ends
– another power of three: characters, settings, plots
– conflict and pacing
– polishing your writing: 170+ tips for making your writing shine;
– the layout of your book;
– and finally (a summary checklist)…
This book is suitable for…
– Writers of any age and experience;
– Writers of novels and short stories (predominantly – it will help scriptwriters and poets too);
– Writers looking to have their writing taken seriously!
I’m not a fan of writing 2-star reviews. I actually avoid it at all costs. Even when I don’t like a book, I’ll usually leave a 3-star review because I realize everyone has different tastes, but there are a few times when I feel compelled to leave a low review as a warning. This is one of those times.
Had Bailey published her list of 170+ things to check for in your manuscript, it would have been a helpful book — not an example of how to successfully edit fiction, but a good list of common mistakes often found in manuscripts (especially for new writers). Even with the typos and punctuation errors, the content isn’t bad. It could be a helpful resource. However, the rest of the book not only won’t help authors edit their books, the advice might actually hurt their chances at getting published or selling books.
I won’t go into all of the details, but here are a few examples of the issues:
- LOTS of punctuation and grammar issues, including inconsistent use of commas, several missing parentheses, and extra words in sentences.
- Bad information. Her definitions of third person limited and third person omniscient point of view are wrong. She often uses Wikipedia as her source of information; no publisher considers Wikipedia a reliable or accurate source. Finally, Chicago Manual of Style is THE style guide for book publishing; she references a variety of websites but never mentions CMOS.
- Incorrect formatting. If you follow her formatting for font, spacing, and citations, publishers won’t read your manuscript.
Those are some of the inaccuracies and mistakes in the book. If it was merely a matter of the book not having enough information to help writers edit their books, I’d give it 3-stars and recommend other supplemental books. However, if you take a lot of her advice — including to do what you want instead of following market and industry standards — you’ll actually hurt your chances of getting an agent or publisher. And if you self-publish, it will look like a self-published book (which turns away a lot of readers).
If you’re serious about publishing books that will sell in today’s market (either traditionally or self-published), don’t spend your money on this book. There are many better resources that will help you hone your craft and capture people’s attention (for the right reasons).