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The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

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Edit slow, edit tough,
with a process both clear
and cool.
Its in the editing phase that you slow down, see what you
have, and make it better.
Having written a book on the process of revision I
won’t repeat the material here. I will say that there does
come a point of diminishing returns. You can workshop
or critique group something to death and reach a place
where it isn’t improving.
At some point you have to send it out.
How do you know what that point is?
Create a process, a schedule, a checklist for yourself.
(You’ll find many suggestions for this in Revision &
Self-Editing.)
Make this process as clear as possible. Maybe it in-
cludes sending your manuscript to several test readers,
and if the majority of them like it, you go for it. If you
get the same criticism from more than one reader, fi x it
and then go for it.
Maybe it means using Sol Stein’s idea of triage as
explained in his Stein on Writing. This is a good strategy,
too, wherein you tackle the most important fi xes rst.
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There’s no one way to approach your editing. The
important thing is to make a way for yourself and then,
gasp, follow it as if you were a bomb inspector going
through the standard routine.
Every time.
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