Write It, Work It, Publish It™

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

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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!

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Comments on: "If Your Writing Lacks Engagement… What’s The Point? – Here Are 5 Things You Can Do Now To Make It Better" (3)

  1. Richard A. Kray said:

    I’m not sure if I agree so much with you. This is only my opinion and only applies to me here, but I wouldn’t feel right paying someone to edit my work.

    Firstly, there is some incentive there on the part of the “book doctor” or editor to give you encouraging advice, even if your book is terrible. How many of them would really say “Don’t bother” if you should, in fact, not bother? I can tell off the bat when reading something whether or not the writer has any talent and whether or not the book is going to be worth reading. I’m sure they are even better at it than I am.

    Second, and this is just me here, I would feel a bit like I’d failed at something if I couldn’t get my manuscript ready to show my agent on my own. Writing is my job. If I owned a hotdog stand I wouldn’t pay someone to taste my hotdogs and make sure they’re good before I went out and tried selling them to people. I’d just make the hotdogs to the very best of my ability, make sure I have a great marketing hook, some delicious ballpark mustard, and get out there! It’s the same for writing. Minus the mustard. (Or, in my case, with the mustard too. You’d be surprised at all the places mustard can get when you have a 10 month old.)

    Anyway, I don’t mean to be rude to anyone with this, I just figured a differing opinion may be needed.
    -Richie

    • Hi Richie

      Thanks for your comment. Opinions matter and you’re not being rude. It makes for interesting debates:) However in my personal experience it’s difficult for a writer to thoroughly edit their own work. Here’s why, quite often authors work on different parts of their manuscript (sometimes over a long period of time) and cannot easily see how it reads as a cohesive whole. In addition, some of the most common mistakes authors make— even established authors who are excellent writers — are such things as redundancy; lack of organization/structure; repetition etc.

      I recently got my manuscript back from my editor (yes, I practice what I teach) and though there were no major edits required, she (my editor) made a couple of excellent suggestions that took my book to another level.

      Of course, there has to be some incentive on the part of the editor. On a subjective note, for me as a professional and passionate writer, coach and editor, I incentivise my clients’ not by telling them that their terrible writing is saleable, but by editing their writing to make it the best it can be as well as making suggestions/recommendations, and I coach them on techniques to strengthen their writing, no matter how long the process takes.

      I understand the nexus you are trying to make in your penultimate paragraph, but that is ‘split-testing’ and doesn’t fall within the remit of editing.

      Yes, indeed writing is the writer’s job… not editing. Naturally, the writer does the best he can; ultimately, writing is his focus. Many agents suggest that writers get their works edited before submission.

      There is absolutely no reason to feel a failure if you get your writing edited. There is a reason why we editors are here and the success of a book is not wholly dependent on the writer, but a team of experts, resources and tools.

      Again, thanks for your comment.

  2. […] is your intention, be it to get help to write a book, get coached, look for an agent, create a blog, website, open a social medium account, rock […]

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