Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

by Allison K Williams
Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

by Allison K Williams


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Winner, 2021 Foreword INDIES award

“Brilliant, time-tested and clear” advice that will help writers at all stages, in all genres, write their very best book—and then make it better. As a freelance editor for more than a decade, Williams has shepherded books from rough draft to polished manuscripts bought by Big Five houses, university and literary presses, and for independent publishers. Now, she distills everything she’s learned from editing hundreds of drafts, coaching writers past creative blocks, and navigating authors through querying and publication, into this useful guide for every step from idea to book.

Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book divides writing and revision into distinct stages, with a new focus in each draft. Williams’ frank, funny voice encourages writers to tackle even big editing tasks with a sense of humor and a feeling that someone who understands is on their side.

With plenty of fresh examples, insider wisdom, and snappy footnotes, Seven Drafts teaches story, character, elements of writing craft and structure, how to seek and use feedback, and the publication process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949116458
Publisher: Woodhall Press
Publication date: 09/07/2021
Pages: 342
Sales rank: 208,676
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

As The Unkind Editor, Allison K Williams has edited and coached writers to publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s Press and Black Rose, as well as small-press and indies. She’s guided essayists and humorists to publication in media including Time, the Guardian, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. A popular conference speaker and online personality, she serves as Brevity’s Social Media Editor, where her twice-weekly blogs on craft and the writing life inspire 50K subscribers. As an author and storyteller her work has appeared in the New York Times and on NPR and CBC-Canada. She leads Rebirth Your Book writing retreats virtually and around the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction 15

How to Use This Book 16

Who Am I 21

About Editing 23

Types of Editing 26

The Vomit Draft 33

Should You Write What You Know? 36

Choosing What to Write 37

Originality 39

Memoir: First Draft 42

Memoir Is Not Therapy 42

Truth & Fairness 44

Writing Time 45

Write First 46

Inspiration 47

Procrastination 49

Don't Edit As You Write 51

What If I Suck? 53

Restarting 55

The Story Draft 57

Story vs. Plot vs. Structure 58

Story, Plot & Structure in a Series 59

Memoir: Story 60

Story 64

Objective 66

Starting With Suck 68

The Passover Question 72

Drama 73

Memoir: Drama 76

Conflict 78

Mystery 80

Memoir: Mystery 85

Theme 86

Plot 92

Memoir: Plot 96

Structure 99

The Crazy Eight 101

Multi-Act Structures 108

Memoir: Structure 113

Timeline 118

Physical Editing 120

Picky Stuff 121

The Character Draft 123

Characterization 123

Memoir: Character 129

Passion/Foible & Ability/Weakness 130

Kill Mary Sue 132

Villains 134

Character through Dialogue 136

High & Low-Context Communication 139

World-Building 145

Backstory: The Curse of Knowledge 149

Fact-Checking 151

Lyrics 153

The Technical Draft 155

Word Counts 158

Voice 161

Point of View 166

Show Don't Tell 169

Summaries & Details 173

Moments Not Things 174

Jargon & Foreign Words 176

Sequence of Actions 177

Sex & Fighting 177

Trimming Scenes 180

What Is A Scene? 180

Get In Late, Get Out Early 181

Pacing & Details 182

Arranging Text on the Page 184

Chapter Breaks 186

Line Editing 188

Houston, We have a Problem: Line Editing in Action 189

Stronger Sentences 197

Word Order 197

Sentence Length 199

Filtering 203

Passive Voice 204

What's Happening 205

Metaphors 206

Dialogue Tags 207

Texts & Thoughts 210

Words & How to Love Them 212

Verb Tenses 212

Modal Verbs 213

Adverbs 214

Adjectives 216

Repetitive Modifiers 219

That 220

Awhile, Anymore & All Right 221

Physical Editing (Again) 223

Final Check of Technical Draft 225

The Personal Copyedit 227

Format & Style 227

Punctuating For Power 230

Exclamation Points 230

Ellipses 230

Dashes 232

Commas 233

Colons & Semicolons 234

Intermission 239

Know When to Quit 241

Envy 243

The Friend Read 245

Criticism Is Respect 246

How to Get Useful Feedback 247

How to Give Great Feedback 249

Writing Workshops 251

The Time It Takes 254

The Editor Read 259

What Will It Cost? 260

Hiring an Editor 262

Using Your Edit 266

Sample Editing Workflow 268

Publication 271

Memoir: Publication 273

What If I Get Sued? 275

The Publishing Timeline 278

Self & Hybrid Publishing 279

Awards & Prizes 284

Querying 286

Referrals 291

Defining Your Book 293

What If Someone Steals My Book? 296

Rejection Is Not Feedback 298

Making a Writing Life 301

Reading Better 306

Writing Better 307

Making a Writing Life 308

The Writer's Toolbox 311

Writing Groups 312

Useful Apps & Websites 314

Self-Edit Checklist 317

Books & Media Mentioned 323

Acknowledgments 327

About The Author 329

List of Exercises 330

Index 330

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