19 Self-editing Tips

19 Self-editing Tips


Help! Help!

Now that I’ve published my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I can say from experience that writing it and editing it took equally long periods of time (and marketing is just as involved). After finishing the final rough draft (yeah, sure) and before emailing it to an editor, I wanted it as clean possible. I searched through a wide collection of self-editing books like these:

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

…and came up with a list of fixes that I felt would not only clean up grammar and editing, but the voice and pacing that seemed to bog my story down. Here are ideas you might like:

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Leave a Review please! Show Authors some love (or not), just leave a review!

Yesterday I read somewhere that Amazon will begin featuring a book if it has 75 reviews or more. I like 50 better, so lets go by January rules! 🙂
Thanks for a lovely, helpful post.
Iris Chacon



Authors truly do want to hear from you! Most take Constructive Criticism well, and they want honest feedback.

It does not take any time to leave a review. Just mark how many stars you want to give it, and simply say you liked it or not.

Even better if you say why you liked/disliked it, but just one sentence is helpful.


Here are the stars and a basic overview of what they mean. Please DO NOT give an Author one star because your book did not download properly or your hard copy arrived late. You need to take that up with Amazon Customer Service, or whatever service you used to purchase the book.

Not all negative reviews are bad. Some people like reading about the things you did not.

For example:

I was shopping for a purse/tote bag online, and one of the reviewers hated it because she thought the…

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Review: VALE OF BLOOD ROSES, A tale of Noreela, by Tim Lebbon

Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.

Stunning, haunting, alternate-world fantasy penned by a master.

I can still remember the first time, many years ago, that I read Frank Herbert’s Dune, Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, and Jack London’s “To Build A Fire. I have read hundreds of books and stories in the interim, but those (and a very few others) transformed my thinking with images and emotions that stayed firmly planted in my mind and made it more fertile as a result. Tim Lebbon’s Vale of Blood Roses affected me the same way.


In the Pengulfin Woods, Jakk walks, throws stones at the birds called wood sparks, and tries to forget his nightmares. Jakk is a farmer now, isolated happily with his wife and child, to whom he never reveals the details of his past.


In the past, after the Cataclysmic War, when people thought all the machines were dead, Jakk and three war-hardened fellow mercenaries trekked across the land on their weary way to someplace they might call home. Jakk had vowed never to kill again, but his companions were, by turns, either numbly resigned or madly eager to shed blood.


The two stories, Jakk’s past and his present, are woven together, told simultaneously, leaving the reader to place events into cause-and-effect order. At first this tactic is confusing, but the author wisely refrains from explaining too much, giving readers the joy of discovering for themselves the answers to questions and the ramifications of events.


In Jakk’s past, he and his bloodthirsty friends tragically and mysteriously encountered a valley (the “vale” of the title) that was not shown in their precious and rare book of maps. Their interaction with the inhabitants went horribly wrong, and Jakk got his first glimpse of the deadly “blood roses.”


In Jakk’s present, the terror of the mysterious vale returns to take its toll on him, his family, and his former colleagues.


Even though this is a novella and, therefore, relatively short, author Tim Lebbon deeply immerses the reader in Jakk’s situation and surroundings; so much so that even after the book is closed (or the Kindle shut down), the mental images and strong emotions are loathe to fade. I highly recommend Vale of Blood Roses, not only to science fiction and fantasy fans, but to anyone who enjoys a moving story masterfully told.


This novella contains no offensive linguistic or sexual material, but the brutal battle scenes and some other bloody incidents vividly depict the violence and horror appropriate to such activities.


Lebbon has published four other titles in the “Noreela” series: Dusk, Dawn, Fallen, and The Island. Dusk won the 2007 British Fantasy Award for Best Novel.


This writer received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, objective review



Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon

This sweet, wholesome romance is about a Christian rock band called Bleu Streak. Every band musician has his own story of a life turned around by Jesus.

The reader rides along with Bleu Streak’s quirky, funny bandmates and roadies on a Christmas concert tour. Along the way, various relationships are explored in the background while, in the foreground of the plotline, a new tour employee and a drummer with a past search for true love.

The reader is immersed in the amazing and unexpected facets of behind-the-scenes rock-star living. By the end of the story, the reader comes home from the tour feeling refreshed and full of holiday spirit – and Spirit.

A Bleu Streak Christmas has no offensive content and is appropriate for tweens, teens, young adults and adults.

This writer received no gift or incentive in exchange for posting a review.


Review of BURNING BRIGHT, by Melissa McShane
Rated 5 of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.

This novel is a treasure for readers who love Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books (about the Napoleonic Wars being fought with military dragons) and for aficionados of Amanda Quick’s period stories of the Arcane Society (sleuths with supernatural or psychic powers).

Melissa McShane presents us with an alternate history in which a few members of society are born with certain paranormal abilities. Those whose abilities are stronger, grander, or even deadlier than most are called Extraordinaries. Elinor Pembroke is an Extraordinary Scorcher. Her younger sister is a Shaper, able to form herself into whatever shape is most pleasing to others. Elinor causes things to burst into flame — which she can also extinguish at will and from a distance.

Elinor’s disagreeable father wants to arrange a marriage for her to a Mover or a Bouncer, because his hobby is a sort of breeding program for paranormals. (Movers can move objects with their minds and can even fly. Bouncers can disappear and reappear in a distant place, so long as the place is well known to them.) Elinor flees her tyrannical father and joins the British Navy, to help fight the Spanish and the French (who have paranormals of their own), and to help rid the seas of pirates sponsored by enemy governments.

Readers will be enthralled at the page-turning action, original situations, dangers, heroics, and romance of this engaging and well crafted story. Don’t miss Burning Bright by Melissa McShane.

This writer received an advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest, objective review.