The book by James Scott Bell is chocked full of useful editing advice and help. There are even exercises and assignments to do – to keep you on track. The most usefull tid-bit I’ve found, so far, is to keep your lead character moving forward – toward something. Make sure there a plenty of obstacles in his/her way. I have used the information in this book and created a checklist for myself when editing (i.e. is my tense consistent throughout, am I using an active voice).
So, why am I ripping my hair out? It’s the negative voice inside my head telling me my story is no good, no one is going to read it, no one will care, oh and by the way your main character is lame. So how to get rid of the negative? As soon as I hear it I switch over and repeat to myself: my story is good, people will clamor to read it. If that doesn’t work, I read a few passages to my cat who sits next to me and my dog at my feet – they look at me and nod with approval.
I would be interested to hear what helps you when the negative thoughts slip into your head or how you get through editing! Please share!