Last month, I suggested some blanket revision techniques to help the process of revising your final manuscript. This month, I want to help you with the Editing part of your final manuscript.
Editing means looking closely at the format and the grammatical errors in your manuscript. Now, I know, some of you will hate this, while others look forward to finding grammatical errors in anything. (I enjoy finding grammatical errors.)
-Make sure your manuscript has one-inch margins and written in 12 point font with Times New Roman.
-Double space your entire document.
-Header should be Last Name/ BOOK TITLE/ Word Count
-One space after every sentence.
-Past tense. Your manuscript major verbs should be in past tense.
-No head hopping. This means, don’t start a section of the chapter in the heroine’s head, but then skip into the hero’s head because he would have more emotion during a certain incident. Maybe reevaluate why the chapter should be in the heroine’s head if you believe the hero would have more of an emotional response. Switch the perspective of the chapter. Quick fix.
-Don’t use explaination points! Unless having someone yell in a direct dialogue. (This bothers literary agent, Chip MacGregor.See “What Drives an Editor Crazy” by Chip MacGregor, April 9, 2013)
-Use the correct format of the word: Your (possession: your car, your house, etc); You’re (Contraction: You are)
-Use the correct format of the word: There (a place: go over there, the house over there); Their (possession: their car, their house, etc); They’re (contraction: they are).
-One of my biggest pet peeves that I remind my students over and over: Don’t rely on your spell checker and grammar checker. They don’t find everything. Plus, I have found the grammar checker wrong on more than one occasion.
-Print out your manuscript. If every first word is the same, then you need to revise the wording. My biggest problem is I usually start every paragraph with a dependent clause, such as Starting the car, Walking to the store. I try to go back and fix this.
-Change your weak verbs, such as, was, were to more active verbs like clinched, stoked, loved, etc….
Of course, there are many more suggestions to fix the appearance and words of your manuscript, these are just a couple of suggestions.
Please share any suggestions you have that work. I would love to learn different strategies to apply to my writing.
Kelly Bridgewater holds a B.S. in English and a M.A. in Writing from Indiana State University on the completion of a creative thesis titled Fleeting Impressions, which consisted of six original short stories. She has been published in the Indiana State University Literary Journal, Allusions, with her stories titled “Moving On” and “Life Changing Second.” In fall 2011, she presented her essay, Northanger Abbey: Structurally a Gothic Novel, at the Midwestern American Society of 18th Century Studies Conference. Kelly’s writing explores the ideas of good prevailing over evil in suspense. Kelly and her husband reside with their three boys and two dogs.