When I first started writing, I searched for an answer to the question: what makes good prose? I gleaned information from various places: workshops I attended, courses I undertook, books and blogs I read, and mainstream publishers, authors and editors that I worked with and talked to. I searched for the answer over a period of five years while I wrote and refined my Diamond Peak Series. Even when the manuscript of the first book, Lethal Inheritance, was doing the query rounds of the big publishers with my agent, Debbie Golvan, I continued my study and line edited my book again. I found pearls in a variety of places, but never did I find all the vital information in one place.
When I began writing reviews of both mainstream and indie published books, I discovered that many indie books lacked the quality of prose I saw in mainstream fiction. Though the level of copy editing was adequate in some—and not so adequate in others—few of them had been line edited, hence the problem. When I began doing manuscript appraisals and, after gaining an editing qualification, offering editing services, I found myself sharing the tips I’d learnt with the authors I worked with. Since the same issues repeated themselves, I wrote notes to save me rewriting the information every time I needed to explain something. Those notes, written to address the common issues I found in authors work, became more comprehensive over time, and now form the basis of a book I call ‘The Elements of Active Prose’ that I plan to publish at the end of March.
The book doesn’t go into grammar and punctuation, or deal with the big picture aspects of fiction writing—plenty of books cover those topics—it focuses on line editing skills. If you heed the words of advice in this book, I may just be doing myself out of a job! My intention in writing this book is to improve the quality of writing we see in independently published books. If you can’t afford a line editor, then I really hope that you’ll read this book and apply what you learn.
So … look out for it near the end of March.
I don’t have a cover yet, but I do have a first draft of the blurb. How does this sound to you?
Anyone studying writing will have heard the advice to ‘show, don’t tell,’ but what does that really mean? And how do you actually do it? Many books tell us about the broad strokes of writing fiction—characters, plot, pacing, dialogue and so on—but they rarely tell you how to write good prose. This book rectifies this imbalance. It looks at how you use words in sentences, and gives pithy tips for making your prose as exciting and engaging as possible. It also gives great tips on how to self-edit, along with excellent advice on working with editors, applying ‘rules’ and dealing with criticism.
Drawing on her considerable experience as a line editor and as a reviewer for the Awesome Indies, the author explains the influence various word usages have on the reader’s experience and points out the traps to avoid if you want your writing to look professional. Though an excellent resource for beginners, there is also much in here that is relevant to experienced authors, especially to anyone interested in gaining Awesome Indies approval for their books. This short book is quite possibly the most helpful book on writing prose that you’ll ever find.
Would you buy this book? Can you think of any ways to improve the blurb?
Material used in this book can be found under the Writer’s Tips category