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Now Available—The Magic of Fiction

August 9, 2015 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill
last modified August 27, 2015


The PDF version of The Magic of Fiction is now available!



The Magic of Fiction




Tags: ,     Posted in: Books

15 Responses to “Now Available—The Magic of Fiction”

  1. Happy publication day!

    On the book’s permanent page you mention the pdf is a free download for Editors Blog members. I am a member, but I don’t see anywhere to download the book. Can you point me in the right direction?

  2. Linda says:

    I am a member as well. I have not been able to download this or other items, even after the update. It is likely user error. Can you help?

  3. Hello Beth,
    I have begun studying your book and I’m enjoying it greatly. For the moment, I don’t consider myself qualified to self-edit. I feel I’m far too passionate to be as critical of my work as I need to be. Notwithstanding, I find your advise thought provoking. Thanks for a great book. I’m looking forward to completing my study of it.

    • Aaron, I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. And even though you’re not ready to take on the editing duties for yourself, I hope the book gives you some useful tips.

      Recognizing that you’re too close to your work to edit it is actually a good thing. You understand that editing requires that dispassionate eye.

      When it’s time to edit, there are two sure ways of creating distance from a piece of writing.

      #1 Put the manuscript away. If it’s a long project or you’ve been immersed in it for a long time, put it aside for a month or more. Get the story—the characters, the events, the emotional elements, and even the words and rhythms—out of your head. Don’t think about the story. Don’t tweak just one line here or there; put it aside and forget about it.

      This can be difficult to do, especially the first week or so. But separating yourself from your creation will ultimately prove beneficial when you want to rewrite and edit.

      #2 Start a new project. Start building a story with new characters and a new setting. Imagine new possibilities. Fill your mind with something different.

      If another novel is going to be too similar to the first—same characters or same setting—take on a short-term project instead. Write some poetry. Write a handful of short stories. Write an outrageous novelette about a person you heard about in the news.

      Make yourself write with a different style or a different focus.

      The point is to get completely away from the story you’ll eventually return to to rewrite and edit. Taking on other projects will help rewire your thoughts, get you thinking about new, about different, characters and their dilemmas.

      If you do these two things and don’t cheat—you don’t peek at the cooling manuscript at all—editing will be much easier.

      Some writers might not have six weeks to set a manuscript aside, but many writers will have this time. Give it as long as you can and then tackle your edits cold. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised with the results.


      Thanks for letting me know you like the book.

  4. Thanks for the quick reply. I don’t know how you find the time to do all you do.
    Please check out my quandary in your Forum section. Look for the title, “I think I might be on a fool’s errand.” Your advice will be appreciated.

  5. Tanis says:

    Great book, Beth! You mention genre expectations/conventions a lot. Can you recommend any good a resource(s) for finding out what these conventions are?

  6. Congratulations, Beth. I’ll be looking out for the soft cover book. I need to hold it, leaf through the pages and tote it around town. I’ll be bragging; “Beth Hill, my fabulous editor wrote this.” You have been a literary angel and your blog has been my ‘go-to’ for years. My only ‘go-to.’ I have no doubt that The Magic of Fiction will be the perfect guide for fiction writers.