“Finish. The difference between being a writer and being a person of talent is the discipline it takes to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and finish. Don’t talk about doing it. Do it. Finish.” – E.L. Konigsburg
“When your story is ready for rewrite cut it to the very bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King 
“The great thing about writing is you never stop learning.” – Dean Koontz
“Don’t forget, and don’t let your reader forget, that the small world in which you have held him for the last hour or two hasn’t ended. Be aware, and make him aware, that tomorrow all of its remaining inhabitants will pick up the broken fragments of their lives, and carry on.” ― Joseph Hansen

Reading Assignments:

1.) Should You Pay For A Copy-Edit? For Other Editorial Help? – by Emma Darwin
2.) The Rumpus Interview With Dean Koontz – by Ben Pfeiffer (At the fourth question down, Dean talks about his unique writing/editing process. The eighth question involves advice to new writers, you might find interesting.)
3. How to Use Paragraph Breaks to Guide the Reader’s Experience – by K.M. Weiland
4.) Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book – by Blake Atwood
5.) Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction – by Kristen Lamb
6.) How I Self-Edit My Novels: 15 Steps From First Draft to Publication – by K.M. Weiland
7.) 57 Questions To Ask When Editing Your Novel – by Rachel Poli (This is a lot of questions. You likely won’t get through all of them this week, but keep them in mind for the future. They’re good questions!)
8.) Coming Up With the Perfect Title for Your Novel – NY Book Editors
9.) Capitalize My Title – (While this is not an article it is a great resource for capitalizing your titles based on which manual of style you’re using. It also has an FAQ section on specific things like AM and PM.)

Critiquing and Critique Groups

These articles specifically talk about critique/writing groups and how to handle trolls on the internet. You may not find these articles helpful to you at this time, in which case, you do not need to read them.  

1.) First Readers and Critique Partners – by Susan Dennard
2.) Ultimate Guide: How To Work With Beta Readers – by Claire Bradshaw
3.) Writing Groups: How To Write a Constructive Critique – by Mandy Wallace
4.) Thoughts on Writing #12: Good Critique, Bad Critique – by Seanan McGuire
5.) Writing Workshops: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly – by Randy Susan Meyers
6.) How to Deal With Haters, Trolls, and Criticism Online in 3 Steps – by Jorden (Not critique/editing related, but good advice!)
7.) A Primer on Sensitivity Readers – Andrea Dunlop


Writing Assignments:

1.) Here is a short story for you to practice your editing skills with before you start editing your own work: Save My Life. Is there any way you can see to improve it? It’s already very short, but are there any unnecessary words? Or maybe crutch words that can be exchanged for something better?
2.) It’s always a good idea to practice cutting words so that you get used to it. Then, when the time comes that you have to do it for real, you won’t have much anxiety over it. Also, it’s good practice that will follow you into your initial writing, so that you write only what you need to write, and no more. Take any of your writing that is roughly 500-1,000 words and cut it in half. Count the words and make sure you really do cut half the words. At the same time, make sure your story stays intact, the narrative is clear, the sensory impact is still vivid. Don’t replace specifics with generalities, and don’t use words like “somehow”. This includes cutting dialogue! To help, here is a list of words that are easy to over use. Use the find/replace tool if you have one, or use this Word Frequency Counter to see how often you use these specific words, or others, and try to cut as many of them out of your novel as you can.
3.) Choose another longish writing assignment you’ve done and, using the advice from the posts above, edit it without major cutting, unless you think it needs it. Did the character’s eyes fly across the restaurant when she saw someone she recognized? Did you use ‘there’ when you meant to use ‘they’re’?


Class Discussion:

1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before.

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Free write for 15 minutes. You can write a scene from your novel OR use this Random Word Generator to get inspiration for something completely different.
2.) Split into smaller groups, if necessary. Each person gets a chance to read their 15 minutes of writing. 
3.) After each person reads, others give feedback: a) What worked? b) What needs more work? Be as specific as you can.

Group Assignments:

1.) Get into groups of 2-3 people and share one of your assignments. Have your group members read over the original and then the edited version, or have someone read them aloud. Compare the two. Is there a significant difference? Does one read better than the other? What changes could still be made to improve the scene? What changes did the author make that improve it? Remember, your group members are helping you to improve your writing. They will catch mistakes and plot holes that you will miss because you’re so close to your writing, as the author.  
2.) Repeat the first group assignment with the second writing assignment, either by staying in the same group, or finding new partners.
3.) Don’t reread your “getting in the mood” scene, but rewrite it from scratch. Then compare the two for clarity and editing. Which one is better? 

LTWF: Beginner Course Syllabus