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Book Editing Essentials

Updated on December 9, 2013

Writing a Book Is the First Step

I am a book editor. I am also a writer. I am also a teacher.

I mention those things so you won’t think I’m just a blowhard who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Let me toss aside the first misconception about book editing: editing is more than just correcting grammar. Of course an editor will clean up your language skills, but a talented and professional editor will do so much more for you, and that is the topic for today, those others gifts that a good editor will bring to the table when they agree to edit your book.

Listen, I want you to succeed. Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about finding success in the Arts. I want writers to be better. I want writers to yes, spread their wings and fly. I want writers to achieve their goals. If your goal is to simply write a book, then sit down and get started. If, however, your goal is to write a “successful” book, then eventually you will need to pay some cash and have an experienced editor take a look at your “finished” product.

I place the word “finished” in quotation marks because so many writers finish their book and then think it just needs a couple minor corrections and it will be good to go. Well, that has not been my experience. Most writers are too close to their own work, and thus they are the worst judges regarding its publication readiness.

If you are considering hiring an editor, then ask them what it is they are going to provide for you. Hopefully their answer includes many of the following essentials I am going to list for you.

A good editor will trim the fat and leave you with a lean, mean book.
A good editor will trim the fat and leave you with a lean, mean book. | Source

WHERE IS THE HOOK?

I have written often about the hook and the Ten Second Rule. If your book does not engage and yes, hook, the reader in ten seconds then good luck to you. A good editor, disengaged from the emotional aspects that a writer has for their own work, can tell you very quickly if your opening few paragraphs have the stuff of greatness.

I will state flat-out that a writer cannot judge this about their own work. They are too close to it. They are too emotionally invested in it. Leave it to the editor to inform you whether you first chapter is a winner or not.

GIVE THOSE CHARACTERS SOME DIMENSION

There is nothing worse than two-dimensional characters. Readers love characters that are alive and that they can relate to. Do your characters have a personality? Do they struggle? Are they healing? Are they emotional? You may think they have it all while you are writing when in fact they are as interesting as week-old white bread.

When I read a novel I ask myself one question about the characters: would I like to know them in real life? If the answer is no then they really have no place in your novel.

ENRICH YOUR WRITING VOICE

Blah, blah and more blah! Is that what your writing sounds like? Listen, all writers have their own writing voice, but that does not mean it is a good voice.

Is your writing engaging? Do you use similes and metaphors? Are you rich in language? Do your characters have personality? Do your scenes come alive to the point that a reader can actually visualize them? Or does your novel read like an instruction manual for car repair?

Real information from real editors

Do your characters seem like real people?
Do your characters seem like real people? | Source

WHERE ARE THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF YOUR PLOT

Novels are about struggle. Novels are about overcoming obstacles. Novels are about joyous celebrations of life. Novels are about incredible highs and crushing lows, and they are about passion and angst, the gambles of life and the emotions associated with it all.

Does your novel have it all? Do you take the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride? Do they swallow their hearts when they read your work, or do they stifle yawns with each new page? An editor will be able to give you answers to those questions.

COULD THE PLOT BE MORE BORING

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl live happily ever after.

Just shoot me now and put me out of my misery.

Seriously, is that how you want your book to read?

A novel writer needs to seek new ground. A novel writer needs to boldly go where Steinbeck never went before.

Develop original characters. Develop a plot that is different in some way. Let your imagination smoke some crack and turn the literary world upside down.

TELL A GOOD STORY

Narration is oh so important when writing a book. I guess, if I were to give an example, I would mention great storytellers you may have heard over the years. I think back to my childhood and think of Will Rogers. There was just something about the way he molded the English language into a story that tasted oh so sweet.

A well-told story transports the reader into the book. The reader can stand on a street corner and watch the action all around him, and that happens because of the narration of the author.

Read one of the classics and tell me that I’m lying. Choose your favorite book of all time and see if I don’t speak some truth here.

Observations by the pros

is there clarity in your scenes?
is there clarity in your scenes? | Source

LOSS AND GAIN: MAKE IT SUBSTANTIAL

Remember back to my roller-coaster analogy. Take your readers on a thrill ride. The potential losses for your protagonist need to be huge. Whether that means they could die, or lose all possessions, or lose their loved ones, something needs to give your story an emotional consequence that will have the reader sweating bullets right along with the main characters.

Think big! Think big losses; think big gains. Roll the dice with the lives of your characters and your readers will thank you for it.

CLARITY IN THE SCENES

Get rid of the detritus in your novel. Every scene should be clear, structured and designed around a specific purpose. Rambling diatribes that serve no purpose need to disappear. Only the Russian greats have pulled that one off so don’t bother trying.

Do not go off on tangents that serve no purpose other than to raise your word count. An editor thinks in terms of a foundation, a frame and a roof. An editor does not think in terms of rambling additions to the basic house. An editor could care less if you are thinking of adding a fourth bedroom two years in the future. An editor is only concerned with whether your basic floor plan makes sense.

WHERE IS THE SUBTEXT

Does your story even have a subtext? If not you might consider adding a few. Subtext gives a novel richness. Subtext is the story within the story, the howling coyotes on a stormy night, the foreshadowing early on that are portents of things to come.

A novel is so much more than a basic outline. A novel has conflict within conflict. A novel has richness that can only be found in real life.

It all begins here
It all begins here | Source

All That and More

That is what an editor can do for you. Editors are first and foremost fans of the written word. If you are just hiring an editor to correct grammar then you are shortchanging yourself and not availing yourself of a valuable resource.

It all boils down to how important your novel is to you. If the answer to that question is very important, then spend the money and have a qualified editor do their thing for you. You won’t be disappointed.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Drive By Quipper profile image

      Drive By Quipper 3 years ago from Wrong Side of Town

      First one here? Hope you don't mind I checked funny, too - "kill me now" - and so on. Humor almost always helps to move things along.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Drive By, that quite an accomplishment, to beat Janine here. Thank you and yes, I happily accept the "funny" button. :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      I just pinned another great one from you on book writing. Am I surprised? Now way! Seriously, I love when you give this kid of advice and seriously can't thank you enough. Totally will be referring back to one day soon when I get my editing hat on. Thanks as always Bill and wishing you a wonderful Monday now!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Good morning! I am reading The Notebook and my mind will not stop editing. Have you read it? I keep wondering if you would be editing too. Then here this is. I bet you would, or did if you read it. Great story, but...

      If you don't slow down you might turn out a few true authors here. Or editors...^+

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Who would really expect all that from an editor? To the uninitiated (first book writer) an editor would be JUST an editor but, you have pointed out that an editor is really an EDITOR!

      There'll be lots of authors spreading their wings after reading yet another wonderful guidance hub from you my friend.

      Voted up, useful, funny, awesome, and interesting. Oh, pinned and shared too.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome Janine and thank you so much for stopping by on this busy MOnday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to happen? :) Thank you and yes, I have read the Notebook, and there are definitely a few things I would change. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, editors are expensive but I think they are worth their weight in gold if one is serious about making money on a novel. Just food for thought my friend. Have a great Monday and thank you as always.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you. Editors always hurt my feelings. How dare they change my creation.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I say FIRE THEIR ASSES! LOL Thanks buddy!

    • profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago

      Bill,

      I believe having had the experience as a teacher, editor and writer, I know how incredibly important the information is that you are providing all of us. The teacher/me finds herself editing everything.

      There is a billboard that drives me crazy. I keep threatening to "correct" the typo?! The editor/me gained most of my experience working for local newspapers which is a very different experience from the editing of a novel I recently completed for a friend. Finally, the writer/me takes huge leaps of faith when I push that "Publish Now" button because there are ALWAYS things I see later that I should have composed differently.

      And yet, here you are putting all of it in great context with just the right perspective.

      Finally, I love the "lean and mean look pic" you provided. Smiles.

      A definite share.

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kim! It is always helpful having an experienced writer and editor sharing the same thoughts and confirming....I appreciate it my friend.

      bill

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very interesting hub as always.

      I realize that when I am reading a book I often think about some of the point you mentioned like how the characters are being developed in the story, the richness of the plot, etc. It's a little bit like taking a step away from just the pleasure of reading and thinking about it at another level.

      Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I have a ton of rewrites to go before I am to the stage where I will need an editor on my next novel. I will definitely keep this hub in mind and create from it a check list of what I need to do before I send it to an editor who will do the same. As always, Bill, another great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, I do the same thing. Sometimes I think it is a curse of writers. We are always editing, even when it isn't our work. :) Thank you as always and enjoy the heck out of your week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cygnetbrown, send it to me when you need an editor and I will treat it with loving care. :) Thank you my friend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Book Editing Essentials has very useful tips with such ways one can be well guided in this process.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Dear friend Bill, everything you have said is true, especially that the author is too close to his own work. The author can’t see the trees for the forest, at least I know that is true for me, and I am a professional editor.

      I decided to give some new authors of ebooks a try (mainly because they are either free or cheap on my Kindlefire) and so far my experience is that none of them will be a new Steinbeck or Heinlein because they are poorly edited. I usually read from the scifi-fantasy genre, and I’m seeing some really innovative stories. Great ideas. They have good development and good subplots, but they are so full of yada yada details that the reader loses track. By yada yada I mean pages of ficticious techo details or fantasy witchcraft that add nothing to the story, and as a result, their character development suffers. In addition, their product contains many typo and spacing errors, and their readers complain loudly in their online comments. Some go so far as to point out specific errors.

      These new authors are trying to keep close to their public, and I admire that, but the trend is to ask readers to notify them of typos and even errors in story details. I would call that “too cheap to hire an editor.” I did give one book a short editing critique, but when I discovered it is a trend, I decided that I’m not going to give away my professional product free.

      Have you noticed this trend, and what do you think of it? Voted up ++

    • profile image

      Michele jones 3 years ago

      Another awesome hub! Keep up the good work. Rated interesting and helpful. Misslong123

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, interesting that you should say that. I had a HubPages friend ask me to "review" her book before publication. It's a lovely way to say "edit" and I declined. I simply didn't have the time to do her work for free. I don't know if I hurt her feelings but I tried not to. My time is valuable. If a friend asks me for advice on a section I'll gladly make the time to do it, but read a whole book? Not likely! :)

      Thanks for your thoughts. I am in complete agreement.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE. I always appreciate your support and kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, thank you so much. I'm glad you found this helpful.

    • Brian Prickril profile image

      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Bill, I am greatly inspired by your latest hubs. I have one finished manuscript and one not-so-finished manuscript and I am ready to take action! One of the most difficult parts so far has been trying to clear a path through the jungle of confusion in the world of publication. Thank you for sharing.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from North America

      This is useful information -- I hope many of the people who need it, see it.

      Numerous writers have approached me to ask for editing. I found quickly that what they meant was "correcting punctuation" - not even correcting grammar, let alone substantive editing. Some felt that editing means only "correcting spelling."

      Some folks that ask for resume updates have the same misperceptions and editing. Preparing a fact sheet that explains the elements of editing nd how they differ from proff reading has helped markedly.

      I agree that is it important for writers to be willing to pay a fair price for editing work.

      Rated Up and I hope the whole world sees this one.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      This is a great hub, Bill. I've found I love editing. I think I'd like to switch my freelance business up to that and concentrate on my short stories/creative writing. One thing writers need to know is the editor makes suggestions in addition to corrections. They should be taken to heart but not taken personally. As you say, most often it takes someone on the outside looking in to see where inconsistencies are and to find what's missing (or superfluous) in a story.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for this informative and detailed article. Writers always want to know what people (editors, publishing houses) are looking for and want. Having a true editor's perspective is indeed and immensely helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I love it when someone says I have inspired them. You are a fine writer; it's time to take it to the next level my friend. Best wishes and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patty, you just summed it up perfectly. Thank you for those words of wisdom and obviously I agree. Paying for quality editing is invaluable. Anyone can correct grammar...well, not anyone but you understand my point. A good editor does so much more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, thank you as always. An editor should never interfere with a writer's voice and style....unless that voice and style get in the way of the story. It is a fine line they walk but good editors do it well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear it, Stephanie, and thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Bill, I, too, had a HP friend ask me to review his book. He wanted to submit it to me chapter by chapter as he wrote it. I read the first chapter, but it was so amateurish and needed a complete rewrite that I bowed out. I would prefer that HP friends not put us on the spot.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You've made some find points here, Billy.

      Stephen King wrote a great essay about when he learned about the relationship between editing and good writing. You can find it online by searching for this: "Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes".

      There isn't a best seller on the market today in any genre which didn't pass through the critical eye of an editor.

      Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB, and I agree. I have no problem helping with a particular problem, but a whole book is asking for quite a bit. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words Writer Fox. I have seen several videos with King in them talking about writing. He really is quite knowledgeable and entertaining. Thanks for mentioning him.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      All of these are good points that an editor can clear up for a writer. But I would say that even a great editor can't do much for an author who produces a cookie-cutter plot - one which has been done time and time again. All they can do is suggest the author add some spice, but I know a lot of authors will refuse to change a thing.

      MizBejabbers: I'm more into crime fiction, but I've also seen some of what you mentioned when reading new or independent authors. They add things which really don't need to be there and it disrupts the flow of the story. But so far, those have been few. I'd have to say most of the novels I've read have had good character and plot development. Unfortunately, it's the writer's who don't even try to get things right who give the rest of us a bad name.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. It's amazing how much I have to learn about writing. I can certainly see how an unbiased editing can be a very good thing. I do agree that we are probably too close to what we write to edit our work effectively.

      A novel to me seems like Mt Everest. I can't even fathom attempting something like that at this point. But, you never know. Thank again for all the great tips and advice. There are many people here who are benefitting from your knowledge. Have a great week.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      I love the way Sally (the agent in the video) says she fell in love with her work and her passion for it and isn't that why we write!! And that she said the best books are written from the heart and is written because a writer has to get a book out of them! Oh my gosh I'm learning that there is so much involved in writing a book and getting it out there & found this video really interesting..thank you for finding these resources and writing about them, they really help..will tweet this one..Cheers

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sheila. It's the same in most walks of life. I have said it myself about teachers who just hang on for retirement and "mail" in their effort the last five years.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. It seemed like Mt. Everest to me as well until I did it. :) Your time will come my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, thank you. There is no doubt that writing a book takes a great deal of effort, but as you said, if it comes from the heart and the passion is there, then it is a labor of love.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Take your readers on a thrill ride." I always doubt myself here. I can see how valuable your editorial service can be. Thank you for enlightening us.

    • bat115 profile image

      Tim 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Very enlightening hub! I just wasted a year and a half working with an editor who did everything the opposite of what you describe here. It was such a nightmare! I think I may forward your piece to her!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bat115, I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Send her my best wishes and tell her to study up on her job.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, you are a fine writer. The time for doubting is over my friend. Get out there and show us what you've got.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is one of my new favorite lines: "Let your imagination smoke some crack and turn the literary world upside down." For that, you get a "Funny" vote in addition to up, etc. Awesome imagery. If I didn't have a young teenager who would be horrified at me, I'd put that quote up on my desk somewhere for inspiration.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      So, so true! Editing is much more than just correcting grammar. In fact, I think people--even writers!--believe that editing and proofreading are the same thing. Not even close. Voted up and shared!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      I may need to send you my first couple of paragraphs of my novel and see what you think ... yikes! Since I work in the real world of government ethics, I see a lot and actually base my characters on a variety of real persons but I combine them together for more interest. It is sort of along the lines of "The Pelican Brief" but not really, with a nowadays twist.

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings to you and yours (your pic is lovely),

      Faith Reaper

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Excellent words of advice. You have to grab them up front...and then are faced with the task of keeping them there. You do this exceedingly well with everything you write, Billy. I am currently struggling with the second chapter “dip.” But I am going to work through this before it goes to the editor. (There are good editors, and editors who would do well to seek another career.) This hub helped...thank you!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      You continue to write what I need to learn. (And that amounts to a heck of a lot.) After all this time I have finished the table of contents :) This is in reference to my book about singing. My goal was to have my book completed by my birthday in February. Right! I'd better hop off of the moon I've been living on and get back to earth.

      Thanks Bill - my teacher, mentor, inspiration and friend ~ love, Audrey

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      As always, I appreciate your very useful advice for writers and your kindness in sharing this advice, Bill. Good luck with your writing services business!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Flourish, I'm glad you liked that line. I actually made myself laugh when I wrote that. :) Thank you and you are probably right in not posting that quote about your desk.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Heidi, my resident marketing guru...thank you for your affirmation....not even close indeed. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Faith, now you have me intrigued. See how well you did that, laying out a little teaser and hooking your audience? You are a natural.

      Thank you dear lady. Blessings coming your way.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, like all occupations for sure. I think an editor is very important, and I think it is vital that we take our time and find one we can work with. Thanks for your thoughts and best wishes on that second chapter.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This hub says it all. You have a knack for explaining things so that your point is crystal clear and yes, helpful as always. You provide a wealth of information to your readers, Bill and I for one appreciate your advice!! BTW- I'm glad that my books aren't boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. They are more like-boy stalks girl (in my thrillers), or boy adopts girl dog (in my dog books)! LOL. Have an awesome night and thanks for sharing these tips!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Audrey, you say the nicest things. That book will get done when you are ready and not a moment sooner. I know it will be good so take your time and live up to your reputation.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I'm in a nice position where I don't have to take on too much work. I just do editing when it interests me, but most of the time I can work on my own stuff and I love it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, you had me laughing. That's what I would write about; in fact, the book I'm doing now takes a walk through the dark side of life and I'm enjoying the heck out of it. :) Thanks for the double visit this Monday.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      My pleasure- glad to make you laugh! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you did, Liz. Have a nice evening and knock them dead tomorrow. :)

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 3 years ago from India

      Phenomenal advice! i also agree that a good editor can make or break your story. And yes even the best writer needs an editor

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Superb advice. You certainly have to make sure your editor is good at the job or you'll end up worse off than you were when you started! All writers should take a step back from their writing, a bit like standing back from a painting to get the overall effect.

      I have more idea of the 'steps' for writing-publishing now; it's always the technicalities that are the minefield in most processes and writing is no different. Your clear 'map' of the journey through is so helpful and supportive, as always! Ann

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Since i have no desire to write a book, i probably shouldn't comment, but i admire your teachings and helpful attitude. I wish you would write a short story with heart, i know it would be terrific. Thank's for all you do my friend....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you cashmere....I appreciate you visiting with your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I really appreciate your kind words. It is a minefield out there, and the ones who learn how to cross it are the ones who have a fighting chance of being published and doing well. Thank you my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahh, Ruby, thank you! I did write a short story here on HP....it received a resounding yawn from the populace. LOL But thank you and I'll consider doing it again.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Another dead on assessment of what it takes to be a writer. I really enjoyed how you stated that a writer must hook their reader in ten seconds; make the people interesting and such. I try, but the problem is they are interesting to me, and I know that I am too close to see if others would enjoy them as I do. I will sit back and read, re-read, let it lie for a while, then look it over again. I always see errors, improvements, other ways to say something, other areas to develop my characters; so it ends up being a permanent work in progress; a never ending story.

      Bill, you are who I look to for inspiration, for guidance. I truly appreciate your friendship and thoughts.

      Thank you for being you, my friend. Take care and blessings to you and Bev.

      Mike

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, that is such a kind thing for you to say. Thank you and I greatly appreciate your friendship as well. As for the ten second rule....maybe have someone else read your opening paragraph and have them tell you if it is interesting. :) Just a thought. Good luck buddy and I wish your family very Happy and Blessed Holidays.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 3 years ago from Michigan

      This article gives me the insight and direction I have needed. It's alot to process for a non-teacher yet creative soul. I have always said, I need an editor yet have not yet been serious enough or confident enough to move forward.

      So appreciate this writing; I even had to look up some terms in order to wrap my mind around some of the instruction. ;)

      I'm going to share this here and on my writer's facebook page (Mekenzie's World.)

      Thank you for another A+ helpful Hub! I value your experience and example.

      Mekenzie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mekenzie, you are very welcome my friend, and thank you for sharing this. I believe all writers can help each other in some way; it's' all about sharing our experience and knowledge.

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      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, my friend, I don't think you even have time to sleep, do you? You must be the fastest penman in the west! I am blown away by all that an editor must do.

      You edit, you write novels, you blog, you pen articles, etc., etc., etc. How do you do it all? You must have kryptonite in your blood or something! And you always have time to share your knowledge and help out an aspiring writer as well. I'm exhausted just thinking about what your day must be like ;) Pearl

      Voted Up Across the Board and added to my Official Billybuc Writer's Handbook

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, you always make me smile. I hear the clock ticking my friend. I have a lot to do and a limited time on this plane to do it all....I'll be able to sleep quite a bit when I'm dead. :) Thank you my loyal friend and Happy Holidays to you.

      bill

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      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Bill, your advice is always a big help.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear it vkwok. Thanks for always being here.

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      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      You said it so well in this one sentence, Bill: 'a good editor trims the fat and leaves you with a lean, mean book.' Amen!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks drbj....you found my favorite sentence....no surprise there at all. :)

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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I am grateful for all the wisdom you share with writers. The world will always need new books with uniqueness. I am pinning this one and hopefully it will get you a cient over time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dianna and I completely agree...the world will always need uniqueness.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Fantastic advice, as always. Thanks again for all the help.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome Deb. Thank you!

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      Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

      Good morning, Bill! Thanks for another hub filled with good advice and tips. I do not even know how many of your hubs I have bookmarked for various reasons. Take care!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, I am honored. Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

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      Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      I was really going to focus on non-fiction books, but nevertheless, I wanted to read your hubs on fiction. It's just over the years, my brain seems to be less creative! However, since I have insomnia, I typically lay in bed for hours before dosing off. As I do, I have been pondering what kind of fiction novel I could write.

      This article gave me lots of inspiration and ideas of how to go about doing this. I don't have a solid idea yet, but if I do come up with an original theme, I now have lots of notes on the best way to establish characters in novels and the roller-coaster of a plot.

      I previously knew some basics to writing fiction, but I didn't quite have the insight the hub talked about. There is so much to learn still. Making the language rich, making the book a page-turner, making the reader feel like he is "in the book" - and I could go on. I took good notes.

      While I don't read a lot, when I first read the first Harry Potter book, I felt the way you describe fiction writing. Great hub! Thanks for sharing! Michele Jones

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, what a pleasure it is to have you stop by this much today. Listen, and I mean this seriously, you can email me any old time if you have questions. I love the passion you have for writing and the desire to be a good writer....and I want to help if I can. :)

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Oh boy are you right about telling a good story. That is what it is all about right? I definitely agree with you about how important editing is. Just wish I had someone who could edit my hubs. Luckily my daughter helps me choose the photos. Another extremely useful hub Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, you have been here so much lately you are now part of the family. What can I fix you for lunch? LOL

      Thank you as always.

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