Self-Editing Your Work

It’s my pleasure to have Kristina Stanley over to explain her latest project. Although she is well known for her mystery series she also is very much involved in helping authors sell their work. She is the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores and her latest non-fiction is Fictionary – helping writers edit their first drafts.



I’m very pleased to be invited onto Carol’s blog to share my writing and editing journey. I’d love to tell you why we created Fictionary and how it can help you.

I’m an author who loves to edit, and I believe today’s author must be also their own structural editor.

The difficulty with editing is keeping track of writing knowledge, the time it takes, and the cost of an editor. So what if I could have writing tips focused on my manuscript, speed up the process, spend less money, AND write better fiction?

This is the story of how we created Fictionary.

What is the Fictionary?

 Fictionary will help writers turn a first draft into a great story by becoming their own big-picture editor.


With Fictionary, you can focus on character, plot, and setting. Fictionary helps you evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first and guide you through the rewriting process.

Why a structural editing tool for writers?

Creating Fictionary began when I finished the first draft of my first novel. By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops, and had 100s of writing and rewriting tips swirling about in my head.

I knew I had to begin the editing process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work, but I didn’t know how to go about it.

My Worry:

How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? A spreadsheet, that’s how!

I created a spreadsheet with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene structure. Then I listed the different writing advice I needed to consider for EVERY scene. I ended up with over 75 “key elements of fiction”. I used the reports from the spreadsheet to visualize my novel.

The process I used was then developed into the Fictionary online tool for writers.

Did Fictionary Work For Me?        

After the hard work of self-editing, the quality of my fiction was validated when my first two novels were shortlisted for prestigious crime writing awards and I landed a two-book deal with publisher Imajin Books.

My first editor said: “If every manuscript was this good, my job would be so easy!”

The next exciting moment came when DESCENT, my first novel, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new releases. Descent was published by Luzifer-Verlag in Germany, and I sold the audio rights to Auspicious Apparatus Press. Imajin Books also published BLAZE, AVALANCHE and LOOK THE OTHER WAY.

Building Fictionary

 I wanted to share my process, SO OTHER WRITERS COULD BENEFIT FROM AN IMMEDIATE APPROACH TO SELF-EDITING and rewriting first drafts. But who would want to use a spreadsheet?  Perhaps a fun, fast tool that helps writers visualize and self-edit their novels would be better.

I joined forces with author Michael Conn and business specialist Mathew Stanley, and we formed a company called Feedback Innovations just to build this tool for fiction writers.

You can find out more about Fictionary at

Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story

You can try Fictionary for free (no credit card required) for two weeks.

Download our free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The 15 Key Elements Of Fiction, and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story.

I’d love to hear in the comments what your biggest structural editing issue is.

Thanks for reading.



Kristina Stanley the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.


You can find her at:


30 thoughts on “Self-Editing Your Work

  1. This sounds like a really interesting tool. Thanks, both, for sharing. And certainly, self-editing is an important part of making a story its best. The more tools at the author’s disposal, the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think many writers start submitting their first novel before it is properly edited, costing them interest (and you only get one chance per agent or publisher). They’ve got a friend or two reading the book, maybe a writing group, but they can’t afford to hire an editor to get the input that they need to polish that book. This sounds like a good and affordable solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic post. I’m already subscribed to Kristina’s newsletter, though I haven’t yet tried Fictionary. I’ll look into it. Would it be good for nonfiction writing? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a great tool. Anything that makes the rewriting/editing process less frustrating is bound to be a winner for the author and readers. Thank you for carrying your vision forward and much success with Feedback Innovations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ann, It’s been lots of fun and lots of stress building Fictionary. The best part is the hundreds of writers who helped in the early stages by testing our prototype and giving us feedback. Writers are awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol, this looks amazing!! 😀 Kristina, I’ve looked at your video promotion and this looks like a great piece of software! How does it work? Mind-boggling. I think I will find this incredibly useful and interesting and am bookmarking this to download soon. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your publishing success, Kristina!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Annika, Great to hear. We are about to release a new version (in a week or so), based on feedback from writers that we’re very excited about. Fictionary imports a manuscript, then uses language processing software to create the list of characters, link them to scenes, and then create reports to help a writer visualize their manuscript. Our pride is the automated story arc.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Christy, thank you for the encouraging words. I’d love it you gave the free trial a whirl. We are coming out with a new release at the end of next week. You’ll get more value from the trial at that time. We’ve gotten great feedback from writers and have changed Fictionary based on that feedback. Have fun editing.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I am just a blogger who may someday freshen up my children’s books or my one murder mystery! It is just great to have connections and friends to check out their paths and suggestions. Kristina, this was a super gift to share and I already know some people here who will enjoy your fresh “Fictionary!” 📚
    Carol, you are a gracious friend and blogger! 💐

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carol, thank you for sharing and featuring Kristina! You are such a great friend and fellow blogger. 💐
    I will keep this in mind should I ever decide to start promoting and get my children’s books and murder mystery published, Kristina’s helpful “Fictionary” will be my choice of learning how to edit and refine my (unpublished) books. 📚

    Liked by 1 person

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