Search This Blog

Friday, November 19, 2010

Editing Our Research

 I'm doing some editing for a client right now. She has written a beautiful manuscript. That is, it is beautiful where I can get at the story.  This writer has done what many writers do. They fall in love with their research. They want to include every precious nugget they find as they are researching their topic.

When the happens the story gets lost. The novel becomes a nonfiction text.  The language often moves into the passive tense, meaning active verbs disappear. The characters get lost in the researched detail, too. 

Obviously, details can add texture to fiction. Obviously, they should be authentic to bring credibility to the piece. But they need to be integrated and shouldn't overpower the work. They also shouldn't smack of intrusion by the author. A lecture, as it were.

 Before you turn your manuscript over to an agent or publisher, check it.  Get a reader to look at it specifically to let you know when you went off on a tangent and told them way more than they wanted to know.

For a recent article on researching by Stephen Tremp, go to Diane Wolf's blog,

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. Find me tweeting writers' resources at And please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

No comments:

Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters