Revise to Write

Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer

Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing
196 Pages
Reviewed on 07/11/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer by Kim McDougall is a compact but concise guide, the perfect handbook for any aspiring writer. Maybe you have written your first novel or screenplay, and you want to clean up the rough edges before you submit to industry professionals. Or maybe you are yet to embark on your first writing project. This guide will take you by the hand and lead you through all the common pitfalls. You will discover how to create memorable and realistic characters, introduce conflict and how it should initiate change, and keep the pace of the story moving forward. You will also learn how to write the perfect eye-catching synopsis and log line and much much more. Follow the exercises and checklists provided to produce well structured and professional writing that would take years to perfect.

As a writer myself, I was interested to read this guide to see what subjects would be covered. The quality of the book blew me away. The author has covered absolutely every topic, from creating a good structure, brainstorming ideas, to the more advanced subject of the importance of flaws in a character and creating a hook in the plot. I wish I'd had this guide at my disposal when I started out as a writer, as it would have saved me years learning the craft. My favourite part of the book was the scene by scene exercise section. I cannot praise this book highly enough. Not only has the author filled this book with so much advice and guidance, Kim McDougall has also included a further reading and resource section. I am going to recommend this to every writer who is starting out. A perfect guide!

Jack Magnus

Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer is a nonfiction writing/publishing guide written by Kim McDougall. McDougall is a poet and the author of children’s, young adult and dark fantasy fiction. How do you turn that manuscript you’ve loved and hated and slaved over while writing it into a marketable book? McDougall remembers her first publishing experience. Her expectations of working with an editor never came to fruition, and the book, when published, was quite different from her manuscript. That the editor responsible was later fired did nothing to help McDougall’s disappointment. While she realized that she needed to take a bigger part in the editing process, she found it tedious and complicated. Working with other writers and beta readers helped, as did scouring the many books on writing and editing that were out there, but McDougall saw a need for a book that covered the entire editing process. Her book, which is geared toward and best used when editing a manuscript, covers the basics of writing a book: including structure, plot, character and scenes. She then delves into the mysteries of line edits and shows authors how to detect and destroy junk words, overused words, and redundant phrases. McDougall shares her approach to grammar and proofreading issues, and she includes a Line Edit Checklist as well as a Master Checklist. She also gives the reader information on Beta Readers and how to find them, suggestions for further reading, a list of Writing and Editing Apps and a compilation of industry-standard novel lengths by genre.

Kim McDougall answers the question every new author asks on finishing that first manuscript: what do I do next? This book was of particular interest to me as someone who had participated in NaNoWriMo’s creative writing project. While I did actually write a novel during that crazy thirty-day adventure and had a marvelous time doing so, I never got past that point. My manuscript seems to need so much more than simply correcting grammar and proofreading, and it’s been languishing in cloud storage for several years now. I revisited it while reading McDougall’s book and began to understand why I felt so helpless about the editing process and saw it as such an insurmountable challenge. My manuscript needs a lot of work! Most do, I imagine, especially when produced in the rush and excitement of NaNoWriMo. But now I have a better understanding of the issues involved in whipping my manuscript into shape and the tools and techniques available for doing so. Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer is most highly recommended.

Melinda Hills

Every author wants to be published and the best way to ensure success is to present the most polished manuscript possible. Kim McDougall provides plenty of easy to follow advice in Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer, leading you through the process of editing your novel to get published and become a better writer overall. Kim McDougall clearly demonstrates that writing a winning novel involves more than simply telling the story you think is so interesting.

In the Nuts and Bolts section, you are guided through the analysis of your structure, plot, characters, scenes and dialogue. With handy checklists, you can see if your story really grabs a reader and makes them want to follow along. Using these checklists and other writing exercises, you can hone your writing skills, delving deeper into the hidden world that makes your story come alive. In the Nitty Gritty section of Revise to Write, you will learn other tricks that will tighten up your writing to set yourself apart from others. This is particularly important when it comes to editing because too many mistakes can make even a great concept fail as a novel.

Kim McDougall rounds out this expert advice with a significant list of resources to help any author improve every aspect of their craft. Revise to Write is an excellent step by step guide for any writer willing to make the effort to improve their work. As a published author Kim McDougall has the experience and background to share with others, which she does clearly and with an obvious passion for everyone to be able to tell the best story possible. This is a great guide for writers and wonderful advice.

K.C. Finn

Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer is an advisory guide by Kim McDougall in writing and publishing. This relatively brief guide intends to give quick, concise advice on producing print-quality work which is easy for publishers to pick up and digest. It is divided into sections which focus on specific areas of the editing process, for example in the underlying security of a novel’s plot structure, and the process slowly moves to more detailed elements such as crafting dialogue and ensuring consistent point of view. In this way, the volume intends to assist writers seeking traditional publication and those self-published writers who need a polished, professional product to send out into the world.

As a professional teacher of writing and a published novelist myself, I examined this volume with a really critical eye. I found the resources that Kim McDougall suggested to be very well thought out and helpful, for example the checklists to have readers engage with the advice given, and the hints on finding beta readers to review your work. I did find, however, that there are areas which felt under-developed, for example the point of view and character work could be extended into how one truly immerses the reader into the mind of the character. I think, as an initial guide, there’s a lot that first-time writers can gain from Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer. I really hope to see a longer, more involved version in future for those a little further down the publishing route.

Kim Anisi

Many writers employ editors to work with their finished book, but readers of Revise to Write by Kim McDougall can also take the job into their own hands or at least do a good basic edit before they hand it over to a professional. The better your book is before you send it to a publisher, the better your chances are that they will work with you. While many publishing houses have editors, we live in a time where resources are scarce in the publishing world and publishers would rather not spend a fortune on editing! In addition, knowing something about editing will help authors to become better writers because an editor needs to understand how and why stories work. They need to know about dialogue, point of view, description, pacing and more - and obviously, authors also need to know as much as possible if they want their stories to really shine. This book can help by providing valuable information on proof-reading, general editing and line-editing. The book also contains plenty of extra material and info, like writing exercises and advice on how to find good beta readers.

While I enjoyed reading Revise to Write by Kim McDougall, I have to admit that following the author's advice (i.e. use the book when you already have something that needs editing) might be the best way to work with this book, and I am sure that I will one day do exactly that. However, reading the various chapters on how the structure of a novel works and how to make sure your basic building blocks work for the story (and how not to mess it up) were interesting in regards to keeping an eye on not making mistakes while working on a novel. So, while the book is aimed at editing, I also found it quite useful to (maybe) avoid some things that will later have to be edited, or at least reduce the amount of mistakes you make with your book.

The way this book is structured works very well: you work your way from analyzing the overall picture down to the smaller details. It makes sense if you compare it with a house: there is no point in thinking about hanging up fancy pictures and buying fluffy carpets if the house itself is ready to collapse! I can't put my finger on why, but I simply enjoyed the way the book was written. It felt like the author is a rather approachable person who doesn't look down on other authors and who never makes you feel stupid for not having thought about topics that are (in hindsight) rather obvious. Definitely a book I'd recommend for authors who want to learn a bit about editing.