First off with the useful stuff: I recently started reading The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman. He's a literary agent and has seen it all. His book is a good starting point to figuring out how to edit yourself. I've already learned a lot and I'm only on chapter 4 :D.
Chapter 2 for instance, is about overuse of adjectives and adverbs and how to avoid it. Just one of the things I learned by reading [livejournal.com profile] jengrrrl's stories, but it was good to read up on the mechanics of why it is so.
Chapter 3 is about 'Sound' which is probabaly the single most important determinant of whether or not I'm going to read a story. If I start reading the first bit and it sounds awkward and painful to read, 95% of the time I will skip the rest of the story, unless, and this only happens very rarely, there's something about the writing that grabs me, most often humor -- I love my crack!fic -- or something authentic, an energy that shines through. This makes me curious about how the writer's mind works and I'll give it another go.

Further babbling behind the cut )
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