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The First Five Pages

I'm working on building a literary arsenal with style and writing guides as my book goes through the last stages of editing and prepares itself for print. Next week, in fact, Dragon Whisperer comes back from the copy editor and I want to be prepared to catch anything she may have missed. I also want to have some new tools in place as I complete what I hope is my final overhaul of Blueshift.

I read The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman after it was recommended by my talented friend and fellow fiction editor Marg Gilks of Scripta Word Services. I definitely see why it comes recommended.

The book is geared primarily to writers, and I found a lot of helpful advice that I plan to implement in the near future. The book covers some of the main points of writing that are evaluated by editors during the submission process. These points include the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, misuse of metaphors, overall sound and style, dialogue, characterization, showing vs telling, pacing, and more.

There are helpful exercises at the end of each chapter to allow the writer to identify problem areas in their manuscript and correct them. Every chapter points out a common flaw and is then filled with examples and solutions, as well as the exercises.

The book is a useful guide for fiction editors as well, with each of the nineteen chapters giving an overview of many problem areas I've been taught to look for in fiction and structural editing courses.

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