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Winner, 2021 Foreword INDIES award
“Brilliant, time-tested and clear” advice that will help writers at all stages, in all genres, write their very best book—and then make it better. As a freelance editor for more than a decade, Williams has shepherded books from rough draft to polished manuscripts bought by Big Five houses, university and literary presses, and for independent publishers. Now, she distills everything she’s learned from editing hundreds of drafts, coaching writers past creative blocks, and navigating authors through querying and publication, into this useful guide for every step from idea to book.
Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book divides writing and revision into distinct stages, with a new focus in each draft. Williams’ frank, funny voice encourages writers to tackle even big editing tasks with a sense of humor and a feeling that someone who understands is on their side.
With plenty of fresh examples, insider wisdom, and snappy footnotes, Seven Drafts teaches story, character, elements of writing craft and structure, how to seek and use feedback, and the publication process.
About the Author
As The Unkind Editor, Allison K Williams has edited and coached writers to publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s Press and Black Rose, as well as small-press and indies. She’s guided essayists and humorists to publication in media including Time, the Guardian, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. A popular conference speaker and online personality, she serves as Brevity’s Social Media Editor, where her twice-weekly blogs on craft and the writing life inspire 50K subscribers. As an author and storyteller her work has appeared in the New York Times and on NPR and CBC-Canada. She leads Rebirth Your Book writing retreats virtually and around the world.
“In Seven Drafts, Allison K Williams is your partner in shaping your writing into something that is worth buying.” —Ashleigh Renard, author of SWING
“Allison Williams understands at a molecular level what makes prose work. As a sounding board, beta reader, and drop-everything-I’m-doing-to-meet-her coffeehouse workshop partner, Allison has made my writing better. Let her do that for you.” —Christopher Buehlman, author of The Lesser Dead and The Blacktongue Thief
“Allison is one of the most gifted writing teachers I know. She’s like a friend privately taking you aside, delivering the honest truth you need, in a way that makes you enthusiastic to keep on going, even when the work gets very hard.” —Jane Friedman, publishing expert and author of The Business of Being a Writer
“Allison coached me from first-ever—very shitty—sentence all the way through publishing my debut novel with Knopf. She taught me everything—from writing how-to, to prioritizing my writing time (yes, I was allowed to let the dirty dishes stack up in my sink!) to navigating the publishing industry.” —Rhiannon Navin, author of Only Child
“Seven Drafts contains specific examples from popular books that illustrate her points, exercises guaranteed to improve your writing, and a comprehensive self-editing checklist that will have you yelling, ‘Jackpot!’” —Lisa Ellison, Editor and Writing Coach
“I had nearly given up on finding an agent when I decided to rework my manuscript with Allison’s help. After the revisions, an agent who had told me I could resubmit decided to represent me, and my book was acquired by Penguin Random House!” —Karen Fine, author of The Other Family Doctor: A Veterinarian’s View of Love, Loss, Mortality and Mindfulness
“Incredibly well-written, funny and filled with great examples to help writers improve their craft.” —Jessica Jarlvi, author of When I Wake Up and What Did I Do?