With stiff competition in the publishing industry, your manuscript will not stand a chance if your writing doesn’t engage the reader. There are many factors that make up good writing, and of course, it’s not only the plot, but how you execute your writing i.e. style.
Overall, however, if your writing lacks a hook; has no rhythm or pace; has a weak plot; the characters are perfect; imperfect; does not capture the readers imagination, or the story is not properly structured–it has a poor beginning, sags in the middle and has a dull ending– or needs further development ad infinitum. Your work will most certainly be rejected by an agent or editor.
What to do?
Here are 5 things:
- Print off your manuscript. This is a much better way to review it rather than on a computer screen. Read it as a reader (not a writer) and read it aloud. This way, you will hear if it lacks rhythm. If it does, chances are, you have probably told what is happening, rather than shown by writing too much narrative. To rectify this, make a note on the manuscript to contract sentences and use action verbs to give your writing rhythm and pace.
- Look out for words ending in ly or ing (adverbs and adjectives) and minimize their use – editors don’t like them being overused. Some dislike them altogether.
- If you have to return to another paragraph or chapter to make sense or check anything, there’s a hole in the structure. Fill the gap.
- After you’ve gone through the entire manuscript and highlighted/noted what needs to be changed. Go back to your copy on the computer and make the relevant changes. When you’ve completed that task, ask someone you trust to review it or, join a book club or online forum to get feedback. Most importantly…
- Get your manuscript professionally copyedited before submitting to an agent or editor.
Yes, I know it begs the question, “Why bother to edit myself if I still need to get it edited.” The answer is, “Because you are too close to your work, you miss things.” In addition, by self-editing, you minimize editing costs.
I can tell in the blink of an eye if a story has a strong hook, if the writer has formatted and edited their manuscript among other things, and so too can an agent and editor. If your work doesn’t stand out, you won’t get a look in — it’s a jungle out there.
It is essential that your manuscript is the best it can be. Many of you spend countless hours and months on your writing, yet do not do due diligence to ensure your efforts will lead to your goal — publication. You can gain expert help from my coaching and or editing services at http://www.writetasticsolutions.com and if you haven’t already downloaded my Special Report, get it while you’re there, it’s free!
Write It, Work It, Publish It!
© 2010 Cherry-Ann Carew
WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, NEWSLETTER, MAGAZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, but ensure you include this complete resource box:
Cherry-Ann Carew, The Power Writing Coach, Editor, and Founder of Writetastic Solutions, is a co-author of the bestselling book ‘How the Fierce Handle Fear’ – Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times. Cherry-Ann helps writers with their creative expression to add value to their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you with your book. Subscribe for your FREE SPECIAL REPORT: Discover The 3 Simple Steps That Will Help You Start And Finish Your Book. Yes, you can have a finished draft in no time!