Eliza Redgold talks on Editing Technique!

We have author Eliza Redgold talking about Editing Techniques this week!

Eliza Redgold on the web:
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Once upon a time when I was out for a walk, I came across a box of books that a neighbour had put out, that he no longer needed.  Since the sign said to help yourself, I did. At the top of the box was a small, paperback volume called ‘The Elements of Style’ by Strunk and White. I didn’t know that I’d stumbled across one of the prized gems of editing. This is true story!

When I get a manuscript back for editing, whether from an editor or a critique partner, I tend to make the structural or plot changes first. I try always to take advice. It’s too easy to get caught up in a story and not be able to see where changes need to be made. So I make them.

Then I go through Strunk and White. I look at the rules of word usage, principles of composition, and check I haven’t mis-used words or expressions. I also pay attention to Strunk’s famous adage: omit needless words! This can be hard as the book gets shorter for a while.

My main editing strategy is PUT IT AWAY. I like to think writing is a form of alchemy, or cooking. Putting written work on the back burner, on a low heat for a while, is one of the best ways to cook up something magical.

Another favourite source of editing advice comes for one of the funniest ‘How To’ writing guides ever. It’s Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schultz. It contains insights and advice from thirty amazing writers, along with their favourite Snoopy writing cartoon.

According to Sidney Sheldon (and Snoopy!) the best advice is to: “Take an idea you really, really like. Develop it until it is brilliant. Rewrite it every year or two, until every words shines.”

I love that. Good luck!

Eliza's latest release is Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva.

We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story. We all know the legend
of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva’s ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for ‘peeping Tom’) and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked is an original version of Godiva’s tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.

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A Kindle copy giveaway of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva to one commenter!


  1. Thanks for this great post. Congratulations on the release.

  2. Your main strategy is one I find myself using: "Put it away." I always find editing easier when I haven't seen the work for awhile. And I love Snoopy's writing advice. Congratulations on your release. This sounds like a good read.

  3. I've had a story marinating for over a year now - and I think I've almost got a handle on it! :) Great advice!

  4. I also believe in that "cooking" style of writing. I need to slow down sometimes and let things percolate on the back burner, and then new ideas come boiling to the surface! Wishing you much success with your book!

  5. I completely agree with setting a manuscript aside and letting it simmer, though deadlines sometimes get in the way.
    Naked sounds like a fascinating read!

  6. What a great post and a beautiful blog you have sweetie!
    I would like to invite you to check out mine and let me know what you think! :)

    Check out my last post: How to Forgive No Matter the Offense
    Diana Bryant (Life Coach)
    www.ManhattanImageandStyle.com – Blog
    www.DianaBryant.com – Web

  7. Thank you! Here's hoping everyone continues to cook up some great ideas :)

  8. Thank you! Here's hoping everyone continues to cook up some great ideas :)

  9. Love these editing tips! I agree, The Elements of Style is such a handy little book. Best wishes, Eliza, with the book!

    I'll pass on the giveaway this time around. Have a great weekend!

  10. The Elements of Style was one of the first editing type books I read. I usually use my last couple of proofreads to omit unnecessary words and making sure words/phrases mean what I think they mean. They have some handy lessons in that book that still relate to writing today.

  11. Someone gave me the Strunk & White book not too long ago, but I haven't opened it. I'm going to look for it right now. I also believe in cooking. I get so many new ideas on how to improve a manuscript if I leave it alone and work on something else.

  12. I find that letting a story simmer on the back burner works really well for me, too!

  13. I definitely have found reading the feedback, digesting it, then coming back to it helps tremendously.

  14. I am looking forward to reading this book- because it sounds so interesting.

    Loved hearing the advice from Eliza. I have the Strunk and White book- but haven't really used it. I will have to put it on my desk and use it more. I do agree that putting a manuscript away for a while can make a big difference! Wishing her the best of luck!

  15. When I moved to London I lost my copy of ‘The Elements of Style’ and immediately purchased a new one.

  16. I have seen this book on another site, I see why, it is intriguing, I hope Eliza sells many books xox

  17. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share


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