Formatting your manuscript

Formatting your manuscript for editors and agents

Formatting your manuscript to industry standards is a must-do if you’re submitting your novel to an agent. If you’re a self-publisher, you’ll score major points with your editor and formatter by sending a clean file. When you want your work taken seriously, it should look as though it deserves that respect. You want the publishing Read more about Formatting your manuscript for editors and agents[…]

Revise your manuscript

Revision: The essential work of creating a novel

Writing is such a minuscule part of the writing a novel. People who’ve never written anything longer than a school paper have a hard time imagining that pouring all those words onto the page isn’t the major part of the battle, but experienced authors know better. While the writing process hogs the public spotlight, revisions Read more about Revision: The essential work of creating a novel[…]

File name

File names that show your manuscript revision status

When your whole story lies ahead of you, it’s easy to naively assume you’ll name your manuscript file TheGirlWiththeFuzzyManuscript_Orig, then go to FuzzyGirl_Revised, and maybe finish with TGWTFM_BetaFeedback. What you may not have counted on generating are the two dozen variations of your book now enthusiastically mating inside the directory folder for your novel. You’ve Read more about File names that show your manuscript revision status[…]

Dialogue

Are you overusing character names in your novel?

Some of the most common edits I make at the sentence and paragraph levels have to do with overusing character names in a story. These edits arise from a single issue: the tendency to approach things a little too formally, from a little too far outside the framework of how characters would naturally think of Read more about Are you overusing character names in your novel?[…]

Editing schedule

12 reasons to learn how to write a brilliant synopsis

You can quit holding your nose now—this whole synopsis thing is going to take more than a single breath. Writing your synopsis is a must-have writing skill for every successful novelist. Your book synopsis is no one-trick pony. Consider how many times and how many ways you’re going to have to summarize your novel over Read more about 12 reasons to learn how to write a brilliant synopsis[…]

Ready for editing

Is your book ready for editing?

Nothing makes an editor sadder than slogging through a manuscript that isn’t ready for editing yet. Let’s not embark upon a journey your manuscript isn’t ready to take. Really. As exciting as it feels to move one step closer to publication, typing “The End” is only the close of the very first step. The majority Read more about Is your book ready for editing?[…]

story revision

How to revise the early drafts of your novel

Nobody wants to scale the stony gray wall of revision. Nobody. Not even those crazy Spartan racers. (You go, Spartans.) A novel revision stares you down with the same inscrutable gaze of a blinking cursor on a blank page. How on earth should you begin? You start rereading your manuscript. Something’s misfiring; you can hear Read more about How to revise the early drafts of your novel[…]

Editing and Revision

The editing and revision flowchart for self-publishers

Whoa, just look at that flowchart! That’s way too many steps! Why, yes. Yes, it very likely is. Few self-published authors can afford all of these editorial production steps. Few would want to even if they could. But the truth is that this does mirror the traditional editorial and revision process. If a publishing company Read more about The editing and revision flowchart for self-publishers[…]

Developing story skills

How to develop your story revision skills

Are you guilty of trying to put lipstick on a pig? As my colleague Jami Gold confided via email, “I’ve seen far too many authors consider themselves ‘edited’ just because someone did a comma check, but my reviews and impressions of a story are almost always about the story itself. We can’t emphasize that enough, Read more about How to develop your story revision skills[…]

The Author's Survival Guide to Track Changes

Updated: Author’s survival guide to Track Changes

If you’ve never used Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature before, the idea of getting your manuscript back from an editor filled with all sorts of lines and squiggles you have to do something to in order to keep your novel from plummeting precipitously through a fiery ring of digital destruction and disappearing into the black Read more about Updated: Author’s survival guide to Track Changes[…]