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Effective Editing  By  cover art

Effective Editing

By: Molly McCowan,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Professor Molly McCowan
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Publisher's Summary

Editing your own work is difficult, but it’s a crucial skill to master if you want to be a successful writer. After all, writing goes far beyond simply creating a rough draft - it’s how the work evolves from a rough draft to a finished piece that separates the good from the great. And as anyone who’s tried their hand at revising a novel or memoir can tell you, it’s all too easy to become mired in the details rather than see the bigger picture, merely focusing on the trees and forgetting the forest, until it grows unwieldy and overwhelming.

The tendency during the revision process to focus on the “little picture” versus the “big picture” can be overcome with the right tools and perspective. This is where Effective Editing: How to Take Your Writing to the Next Level comes in. Book coach and editor Molly McCowan takes you through the self-editing process in 13 detailed lessons, using a step-by-step method designed to reduce overwhelm and to structure the revision process in the most productive way possible. Working from the big to the little picture of your work, Molly shows you how to strengthen character development, find and fix plot holes, build stronger scenes, focus on smooth pacing and point-of-view issues, elevate your language, and much more.

The focus of this course is for you to improve your narrative writing skills, including fiction and nonfiction, such as memoir, autobiography, biography, and personal essays. Molly’s tips and tools throughout the course can help any writer edit their own work with skill and confidence.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2021 The Great Courses (P)2021 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Effective Editing

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This is excellent

This is excellent. I highly recommend it without reservations. This title delivers what is promised.

4 people found this helpful

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great big picture to details editing process

The biggest takeaway I got from the course is that there are multiple levels to editing, and it is important to start at the top first. When I edit, I usually start somewhere near the bottom, and it shows. The other interesting takeaway is that there is a known structure to what makes a story good. The book recommended is called "Save the Cat". Following this structure is a necessary, but not sufficient step to writing a good story.

I also learned the importance of hiring an outside editor to gain distance and professional quality line editing. Line editing gives it that final polish to make the manuscript publication material, but is also a step that requires a lot of expertise, and is at the very bottom of the editing hierarchy. Therefore, it is best done by a professional, while the higher levels are best done by myself.

3 people found this helpful

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Save the Cat Writes a Great Course.

Find someone who looks at you the way this instructor looks at Save the Cat Writes a Novel, a book she cites so often that you might as well buy that instead. The moment I knew I would return this book was when the instructor proclaimed that the protagonist must meet the final problem alone. Tell it to the Avengers, or the Dead Poets Society.

James Hynes and James Scott Bell have done fine Great Courses on writing fiction, both of which provide robust guidance. I'll go relisten to them.

2 people found this helpful

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Just what I needed to hear

I enjoyed this course. It answered my editing questions, gave me writing advice I didn’t know I needed, and explained the process and why one edits recursively. It helped me place what editing between drafts help the most and explained the why the order and focus of each edit pass through the manuscript is needed. Great course for beginner writers.

1 person found this helpful

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Tell me something I don’t know!

This book proves why “writers” are so squirrely.
It is an amazing scaffold of subjective pablum.
There is too much content and there is too much “fiction” out there. Everybody wants to be paid ten million dollars for being a wild and crazy guy.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it.

As a writer, I found this very helpful. I especially appreciated the tidbits on why still hiring a professional and the end is needed. This is one of those essential listens that you will go back over again to glean more.

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not what I expected

Not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. The first part seemed like a how to write course. She talked a lot about Save the Cat. For a self editing book, she still wants you to pay an editor for multiple edits. Maybe I've just read too many books on writing lately. This seemed like a rehash of familiar content.

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One of the best books to learn about writing

I have read several books now on writing information and this one has to been in the top two. If you want to learn a lot about the structure and important information on how to build a book this is a must read

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only useful to for someone with a book to edit

I really found this a slog. I thought there might be some general editing and writing principles, but much of those sections seemed pretty obvious - like don't rely on spellcheck. Seems like it might be useful for a homeschooler.

Then the rest of it really focused on someone trying to get a work published. I was hoping there might be more for someone who is generally interested in writing.

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Simply fantastic.

Perfect for first time writers explaining exactly what to do next in the process. Writing is the easy part, editing takes patience and belief. This guide allows the next steps in the process to make sense and shape you into an effective and educated editor. Could not recommend it more.