If you're looking for a fantastic reference while editing your writing, I found the following book to have some very useful advice from some seasoned editorial professionals. Here are some of the main points I gleaned from this book:
- Probably my favorite rule from the Show Vs. Tell chapter is RUE: Resist the Urge to Explain. They talk about the importance of showing all the elements of good writing, and using telling sparingly and only when necessary. If you are editing a section of text that feels like a textbook explanation of character history or setting, try to rewrite that information into description, action or dialogue. There are some good examples of how to do this.
- Give the characters views of the world, rather than your views through the characters eyes. This is where really knowing your own characters comes in handy. You might not include their most embarrassing moment in the third grade, or list their favorite flavors of ice cream for the reader, but the more you know about your own protagonists/antagonists, the better you show the world through their eyes.
- To help edit dialogue to make it sound more natural, read it out loud. The book suggests that you, "...bring your ear into play when editing...dialogue is an artificial creation that sounds natural when you read it...the eye can be fooled, but the ear knows."
What about you? Have you read any good writing craft books lately?