Here’s the fifth episode of the Writing Talk Podcast.

Today’s overall topic is the importance of self-editing and the clinching argument for outlining.

In this episode of The Writing Talk Podcast, I’m considering the contribution that outlining makes to the editing process. That may sound counter-intuitive but bear with me – the two processes are synergistic.

I talk you through an example from my own work which I hope will help to demonstrate the idea.

I hope you enjoy listening.

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Action Points

Look at your work in progress and honestly ask yourself if any piece of it gives you an itch.

If there’s a piece that you have a hunch about – or a nasty feeling it isn’t quite good enough – copy the offending chunk into a doc labelled “outtakes” or something similar, then return to the original manuscript and rework the passage until it works. Don’t forget to keep copies of everything. A rewrite is a good time to do a “save as” and rename the doc with a meaningful title to help you keep track of your versions.

Is Your Outlining Method Fit for Purpose?

Has your outline become a mammoth work in its own right? Is your process cumbersome? Trim it down – do only those steps needed to make the story’s details real for you.

Is your outline far too vague? Do you have only a faint idea of the story? Consider adding more detail – flesh it out, chase down the details.

Links to Writing Resources:

The Story Grid. A fascinating book on editing and writing. Click anywhere on the cover image to visit your local Amazon or choose a flag for elsewhere:

The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know

Take Off Your Pants. Many people find this a real eye-opener. I enjoyed it and there’s a lot to be learned from this book.

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition

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Question

What single piece of writing craft advice would you give to a writer just starting out on their first novel?

Please answer in the comments below and get a shout out in a future show: