Intuitive Editing – A Book Review.
Steph Nickel reviews Shannon Robert’s “Prayer Journal for Woman.” Steph concludes that we should journal the things that we learn daily from the Lord.
Another Book I Look Forward To
Intuitive Editing: A Creative & Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing by Tiffany Yates Martin arrived on my doorstep recently. This is yet another book I look forward to diving into. In fact, it has risen to the top of my nonfiction TBR (to-be-read) pile.
Truth be told the cover, which is very artistic and eye-catching, and the fact that it was written in 2020 compelled me to add Intuitive Editing to my virtual shopping cart. And I’m glad I did!
I believe this book will be beneficial to anyone who wants to write, particularly fiction and creative nonfiction. If that’s you—or you think it might be—this review, and the book, may interest you.
A Four Part Book
Intuitive Editing is divided into four parts: Macroedits, Microedits, Line Edits, and Getting Feedback.
The Macroedits section includes three chapters: Character, Stakes, and Plot. As the name, Macroedits, implies these are “big picture issues.”
The Microedits section includes Suspense and Tension, Point of View, Showing and Telling, Momentum and Pace, Structure, and Voice.
Line Edits only includes a chapter titled Line Editing, which, of course, makes sense.
The final part, Getting Feedback, includes How to Train Your Editor Brain, the Frugal Author’s Guide to Getting Editorial Feedback, and Hiring a Pro.
And while, yes, I am an editor, I can always improve my skills.
The introduction begins this way:
Editing your own writing can feel like doing your own brain surgery. No matter how good you may be at the technical procedure, it’s all but impossible to be quite so adept when you turn the scalpel inside your own head. But self-editing is an accessible skill you can develop and hone just like the craft of writing, and in this book I’ll show you how to evaluate your own manuscripts with an objective eye and create a clear, actionable blueprint for making your story more compelling, effective, and engaging.
The preface, “Approaching the Edit,” opens like this:
Learning to see the areas in your own manuscript that may need more development or clarification is just one of the challenges of editing your own work—one I’ll offer specific suggestions for throughout the book. But equally important—and often confusing—is knowing how to actually go about addressing them and revising once you do.
So far, I can say, “Yes. Yes! YES!” to what the author promises to teach me.
Full Time Writing
As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe the Lord is leading me into full-time writing and editing. The skills I learn from Intuitive Editing are bound to strengthen me in both areas.
The first line of Chapter One: Character really hits home. “Here’s the most important truism about storytelling: Readers don’t care what’s happening unless we care who it’s happening to.”
Years ago, a novice writer asked me to read through her first complete manuscript and give her my overall impression. Sadly, by the end of the book, I was pleased when the demon carried off the female protagonist. Before you gasp and say, “How could you feel that way?” you have to understand what Tiffany Yates Martin addressed in Intuitive Editing.
I simply didn’t care about the main character. She was so self-absorbed, so much “the victim,” throughout the entire manuscript that I had no sympathy for her. Unquestionably, the main character must be relatable in some what—or at least sympathetic. The reader really does have to care who all the bad things are happening to.
There were definitely high stakes in this particular story. That, the young author got right.
Character is the Vehicle
Chapter Two: Stakes states, “If character is the vehicle in which readers travel along the path of your story, stakes are the engine. Your characters must want something desperately, and there must be consequences—meaningful ones—if they don’t achieve that goal.”
Nonfiction author and novelist James Scott Bell states that everything must be a matter of life and death, not necessarily physical life and death but things like the death of the character’s reputation, security, or relationships.
In the third chapter of Intuitive Editing, Plot, the author states, “In the holy trinity of story, plot may be the third leg, but the tripod can’t stand without all three. Plot is not action, and action isn’t story, or we’d all love reading synopses. It’s not only what happens, but the hows, the whys—the connective tissue—that keeps us reading.”
A Resounding Feeling
In “A Final Word,” the author says, “There’s a feeling I get whenever I read an author’s final edited version of a manuscript that’s come together to create the seamless, impactful, satisfying story he set out to tell in the first place: sort of a steady mental smile … a resounding feeling of yes.”
As a reader we want this experience when we complete a book. As a writer, we want to give our reader this experience.
Intuitive Editing: A Creative & Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing will give authors the tools to do so more effectively.
Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. In all she does, Steph seeks to nurture and inspire. She is currently working on the first book in a nonfiction series. Nurture and Inspire LOVE is a compilation of the first devotionals she wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Steph is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. Deb and Steph are working on a follow-up book.
You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
Visit Steph’s contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.