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Many thanks, Crawford -- this was just what I was hoping for. Before I was just staring at a monolithic manuscript; now I can put together a plan of action. Time to roll up my sleeves -- you've given me plenty to do.

Thanks again!


Good stuff. I'd also add rhythm: read the story out loud. I've discovered that catches awkwardness like nothing else. ;-)

By the by, Matt, GREAT JOB!


Excellent advice. What struck me first in Matt's letter was, "And I even have some clear ideas about what the
weaknesses are in the novel, and where the changes have to be made."

One thing I've started doing when I come upon a part that"bothers" me in the rereading, is to finally acknowledge to myself that something's wrong by "highlighting" it in yellow or blue. That way, it's shouting to be redone, but won't be forgotten. Sometimes we see it, but don't know quite what the problem is or how to immediately fix it.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

This is wonderful advice - thank you, thank you, thank you, from another newbie with several novel drafts that have yet to be edited and sent out to meet people.

(Your article reminded me of another one by Holly Lisle, "One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle". It gets recommended often to National Novel-Writing Month participants.)


Thank you for posting this information... I am a new writer and have just written a story. I too was wondering how to go about editing my work. Thanks again..T.

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Some of My Books

  • : The Fall of the Republic

    The Fall of the Republic
    In a parallel timeline, 1990s America discovers the chronoplanes: parallel worlds at different points in history.

  • : Rogue Emperor

    Rogue Emperor
    The hijacking of the Roman Empire, 100 AD, by 21st-century Christian fundamentalists, in the second of the Chronoplane Wars novels.

  • : The Empire of Time

    The Empire of Time
    My first novel, published in 1978, but the last in the Chronoplane Wars trilogy.

  • : Gryphon

    "Write a space opera," my editor said. So I did, with some nanotech thrown in.

  • : Tsunami

    A companion novel to Icequake, set mostly in California.

  • : Icequake

    A disaster thriller (Antarctic ice sheet surges into ocean), dated but still fun.

  • : Eyas

    Originally published in 1982, and still the novel I'm most proud of.

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