By: Claire Bradshaw
When you've finally finished your manuscript after thousands of hours of work, the last thing you want to hear is that there's more work to be done. But unfortunately, that's the simple truth of the matter.
Finalizing your draft is an enormous achievement, but now's not the time to rest on your laurels! There's still a lot you need to do to get your book ready for publication.
Once you've written, rewritten and edited and you're satisfied with the story, it's time to focus on the little things: the small yet important details of the writing itself.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the hundreds of times you've read your manuscript, there are plenty of things you might have missed. Overused or unnecessary words; inelegant phrasing or exposition; long, difficult-to-read sentences...
All of these things might have escaped your notice while you were dealing with bigger issues like plot and characterization – but they won't go unnoticed by readers.
After all this hard work and effort, you don't want to let a bunch of little things drag down the quality of your novel! So to help you tighten the screws and sharpen your manuscript, we've put together a checklist of things to look for when you're polishing and revising.
BEFORE YOU START: SOMETHING TO REMEMBER
First things first. While you're performing a fine-tuning edit on your novel, there is one thing you need to keep in mind throughout the process:
Everything must serve a purpose.
Every word you write, every sentence and paragraph and chapter, must add something to the story or enhance the reader's experience. Each aspect of your writing must do at least one of the following things:
- Drive the narrative.
- Develop the characters.
- Paint a portrait of the setting.
- Speak to the themes of the work.
Keeping this sense of purpose in mind will help you tidy your manuscript until it's trim, taut and razor-sharp.
We think the great Dr. Seuss sums things up best when he says...
The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."
Let's take a look at some of the things that could be hindering your book, and how you can get rid of them.
CHECKLIST: THINGS TO CULL FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT
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