Revision and Self-Editing as a Christmas gift, I anticipated more of the same: hands-on instruction on a subject that befuddles all writers at one time or another. And that’s what I got—I just expected it to be new information, rather than a word-for-word reprint of all those great articles I read (and, although I haven’t read his companion book Plot and Structure, I’ve heard that much of Revision and Self-Editing is also a repeat its information). I don’t hold the reiteration of info against Bell (I’ve done it myself in diversifying media), but the lack of new information diminished the book’s usefulness for me.
That said, the checklist at the end is a great tool. It offers exactly the kind of specificity and experience writers need to bring to the table when the red ink starts flowing. Bell covers twelve facets of story and the nuances we need to double-check while revising—everything from correctly structuring our beginnings, middles, and ends to polishing our characters and dialogue. In summary, I would recommend this book if you’re unfamiliar with his Writer’s Digest articles and haven’t read Plot and Structure. Otherwise, you can probably find all this information elsewhere, without shelling out an extra $17.