Tag Archives: manuscript

Those Important First Pages

Sometimes you set out to do a thing for one reason … only to find it was so much more than you ever imagined. More than you could have actually planned. In this case, I learned just how much value can be wrung out of focusing on the first chapter and how it relates to […]

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A Teachable Spirit

A couple-three years ago, I had lunch with an author friend who was in town for a conference. She is a speaker who often counsels beginning writers about craft and process, and that day we were discussing the finer points of teaching/editing grownups. “It’s all about having a teachable spirit,” she said. “You should write […]

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#WordUse Series:
Words I Never Want to See in Your Novel. Please.

When I get to the end of an edit, I generally make a list of the author’s “favorite” words and phrases—words he or she used over and over without realizing it. It’s quite instructive. Usually they are words like so and well used at the beginning of sentences of dialogue. Often it’s amazing (and you know how I feel about that!). Smirk shows up […]

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Short Saturday: Sharpening Your Manuscript

There is so much good information in this article, I don’t know where to start. But how about here: just because you’ve got the novel down—and have polished the plot until it shines—doesn’t mean you’re done. “All of these things might have escaped your notice while you were dealing with bigger issues like plot and characterization—but […]

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No Snake Oil* For Sale Here

Not long ago a friend in the book biz referred a writer to me. She’d written a YA novel, this writer; when she emailed me, I told her I really enjoy YA, but that I require a synopsis and sample chapters before I decide to put a project on my production schedule. This is stated […]

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Short Saturday: Why You Can’t Find an Agent

There’s always something good going on over at Jane Friedman’s blog, and in case you missed it, here’s an excellent guest post about how you might be sabotaging your manuscript. Aside from the number-one reason—the book is bad—the author lists three reasons why your manuscript might be having trouble finding a home. Here’s a little […]

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Short Saturday: Track Changes From A to Z

Yes, a while back, I wrote an article with some basics about track changes. We’ve also talked about why you need to use MS Word when you’re working with an editor, not Apple Pages. (Calm down, Mac users; I’ll establish my bona fides. To wit: I bought my first Mac in 1990 and have never, […]

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8. Step Away from the Vehicle

You can ignore everything else in this lecture except number eight. It is the only absolutely twenty-four-karat-gold-plated piece of advice I have to give you. I’ve never taken it myself, though one day I hope to. The advice is as follows. When you finish your novel, if money is not a desperate priority, if you […]

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One Person’s Tic Is Another Person’s Style

Not long ago an author friend of mine mentioned on Facebook that the book he was reading had too much repetition. “Characters frequently curl their fingers into their palms,” he said. “And everything smells like cinnamon.” In the amount of time it took three people to comment, my friend noted that he’d read about the […]

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The Invisibles

As you might expect from someone who grew up to be an editor, I am (generally) an orderly person. Everything in its place, organized, methodical, systems, processes, plans … that sort of thing. This includes the way a manuscript looks when I am working on it. I like it to be neat. (Or at least […]

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