Monday, April 15, 2013

Book review: Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair


Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair
Paperback/eBook, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Linden Publishing

Most editing manuals are like geography books. They give great information, but don’t show how to get from place to place. Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave is a GPS that leads you through the writing jungle to solve your specific writing problems. 

Most editing manuals are like dictionaries from which you’re asked to select words to write the Great American Novel. This book shows what words to use and what words NOT to use. 

Most editing manuals are loaded with mind-numbing theory. This one presents knowledge a step at a time and asks you to apply what you learned—a step at a time—to your manuscript’s first chapter. Along the way you’ll also edit a nine-chapter melodrama and check your editing against the author’s. When you finish, you’ll have an editor-proofed first chapter and will be ready to edit the rest of your book. 

This system was proven to work in three years of weekend and online classes, titled Editor-Proof That Chapter and Twenty-One Steps to Fog-Free Writing. They are parts One and Two of this book. Part Three discusses finding and working with critique partners, professional editors, publishers, and agents. The students loved the concept! 

This book is perfect for use in classrooms. The information is presented in bite-sized lessons which can be assigned daily. See what students say about their classroom experiences on the back page.


Many who read this blog may already know I'm a writer and attend many conferences on my beloved craft. I'm also always on the look-out for how-to books since one can never learn too much. The book, Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair, is a valuable resource for all types of writers from newbies to published authors.

It is evident Don McNair knows his stuff. From the first page of his book, his advice is golden.   He writes concisely and with humor in an easy to read and understand manner. The book is broken down into three sections and each chapter has exercises to do. Writers may have heard some of the advice in this tome but I don't think we've heard all of the twenty-one steps listed in this volume. I'm a conference and workshop veteran and I hadn't heard about all of these steps. From getting rid of dialogue tags except for "he said" and let's not talk about the dreaded adverbs, this book will certainly help any writer strengthen their novels. Shorten those verbs and watch out for 'foggy phrase' too. I particularly loved the section on 'character filters'. The examples of "marked up" versions and the "final" versions was also an effective tool to view the advice in action. One of my favorites were the Fog Alerts listed throughout.

The information is current and extends past the completion of the manuscript and covers searching for critique partners and professional editors to writing the synopsis and query letters. I used my copy so thoroughly, it's a highlighted, pencil-marked, corner bent, well-used textbook. I even brought this book to my critique group so my writing partners could gleam some of the information as I did (and they thought it was a great book to add to their writing library as well).

Super helpful and precise advice, written with a touch of humor and contains helpful learning exercises and more, Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair is a must have addition for writers. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5

Cover comment:
I think the cover shot of an edited manuscript page can't be more effective than it is.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

2 comments:

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  2. Hi, Laurie: I thank you for the wonderful review of my book. Will you be putting it up on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and other venues? Thanks again!

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