Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finding Tips on Self-Editing at The Blood-Red Pencil

First published on July 14, 2010, this post is one of the most useful we've ever offered! Thank you to Patricia Stoltey.

Most of us who write spend as much time in the revision and self-editing phase as we do writing our first drafts. Since a large percentage of the contributors to this blog are editors, there's a lot of information here to help. Now that we've added a search bar, it's easy to find what you're looking for, whether it be advice on using adjectives and adverbs or different points of view on point of view.

To give you a head start, here are the links to my series, Self-Editing One Step at a Time:

1. Charting the Novel Story Arc

2. How to Identify Dragging Narrative

3. Identifying and Eliminating Your Habit Words

4. Searching for More Silly Stuff

5. Weeding Out Unnecessary Adjectives and Adverbs

6. Cleaning Up Those Dialogue Tags

7. Analyzing Sentences for Redundancy and Wordiness

8. Fine-Tuning Sentence Structure

9. Read Your Manuscript Aloud

10. One Final Self-Editing Chore

11. Critique Groups Part I

12. Critique Groups Part II

When I used the search box to look for "self-editing," I found more, including these:

Alex Sokoloff's guest post from June, 2009 is called: Top Ten Things I Know About Editing.

Lillie Amman's post from September, 2008 is Ten Tips for Self-Editing.

You can do the same kind of search for "adjectives," "adverbs," "dialogue," or any other element of writing to see what the authors and editors have written. If you don't find what you want, check the  Ask the Editor free-for-all and post your question or suggest a new post topic.

Patricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries, The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders. Originally published in hardcover by Five Star and paperback by Harlequin Worldwide, both are now available as e-books for Kindle and Nook. Her November 2014 novel from Five Star/Cengage, Dead Wrong is a standalone suspense. The novel has been described as “…lightning paced…” and “…a fantastic combination of suspense and action…”

You can learn more about Patricia and her fiction at her website and blog. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. I've retweeted this post and emailed it to myself as I'm getting to the point where I will be starting to edit and I already know the first link is going to help a lot. When you've written the first draft, the forest looks full and you can't see the details - it's great to have some pointers.

    Thanks for the post, Patricia.

  2. Thanks for these great links! I'm working on a revision now, so they couldn't come at a better time.

  3. Wow! This is great! Thanks so much :-D

  4. Sometimes the revision and self-editing process seems overwhelming when you're looking at a 250-300 page first draft. Breaking the task down into manageable steps helps a lot.

  5. Thanks for putting all the links together for all of us. Great resource.

  6. Pat, we should have a separate tab on the blog for Our Best Editing Tips and add these links there. What do you think?

    Blog Book Tours

  7. Good idea, Dani. I also found some more good tips that show up when I search for "editing" rather than "self-editing," so we could add those links as well.

  8. Thanks for this list of links. This post is a keeper.

  9. Nice to have all these links again. I'd forgotten about this post and will send a link to my latest client who is just beginning to hone her craft of writing. Very useful for her and others just starting out, as well as a good reminder for those who need a refresher.

  10. The story arc post is excellent - I started charting the first time I read this tip, and haven't stopped!

  11. Excellent useful links - thanks, Pat! I'll never take your place here at BRP!

  12. Excellent set of links for authors - and editors - Patricia!

    I'll be sending my author clients here for help with with their revisions.

  13. Thanks for rerunning this post, Dani. I'm in self-editing mode myself these days, so the process is very much on my mind.

    And thanks for the kind words, Maryann, Jodi, and Elspeth. You ladies rock!

  14. I marvel at what the Internet has brought to research. I wonder if I'd be writing if I'd started 'back in the day' when one had to get in the car and drive to the library.

    Thanks for the links.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  15. Thank you for all the great links and posts. I am definitely in editing mode right now and could use the extra tips.

  16. Self-editing is better than self-mutilation ... which is what I want to do when I get all those query rejections.

  17. Great reminders about these resources. :-)

  18. I am just starting out with my first draft, so I have a while before I will need these, so I am definitely bookmarking them for later. Thanks so much to all of you for all of your invaluable help! ::)


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