In 2010, I heard Ross Browne talk about self-editing. I found myself nodding my head almost continuously like those bobblehead dogs that folks line up along the back seat of the car. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King is a user-friendly text for writing. If you’ve avoided text-like how-to books, fear no more. The authors write in a personal tone making it easy to take the suggestions.
Today I read aloud to self-edit–to hear where words have been left out. I read aloud to hear how the piece sounds, listening to the rhythm, alliteration, and for sentence structure. If there is dialogue, reading aloud is even more enlightening. In real life, people interrupt, speak in phrases, and often meander. If I want my dialogue to be ‘real,’ I need to have my characters tell it like it is. I self-edit for overused words. My crutch words are “really” and “just.” Out they go. The gem of this book was using interior monologue richly and effectively to endear the reader to a character, or to let the reader know something about a protagonist that other characters don’t yet know.