Monday, March 2, 2009

It's Written...Now What?

The manuscript is written. After toiling over the pages, the plot, the characters, writing chapters in tune with the synopsis, bringing out all facets of the story, writing the beginning, middle and the end, you are finished.

Or are you?

Yes, you can relax and take a break. It's well deserved. But there is still much more yet to be accomplished. The tedious work of revising. Fine tuning. Make the manuscript sparkle and shine. Polishing, cutting, pasting, altering, making the writing the best it can be before it finds its way into the hands of your editor.

So what does this entail? Well, for me it means looking over my work. I first read through it on the computer. I look for awkward phrasing, for misplaced sentences, for obvious typos and correct these. I then print out a hard copy. It is impossible to do an accurate survey of your work without looking at it on the written page, as if you are reading a book. I find that I have two different manuscripts when I see my work this way. And I usually end of doing much more dicing and splicing when I see the manuscript in hard copy. I see the mistakes in flow. The choppiness. What I need to change. And often typos that are easily bleeped over on a computer screen. Such as the computer spellcheck missing "abut" for "about" (it happens more than I can say!).

Once this is done, I insert the changes in the computer file. Then it's good to have your work critiqued by a fellow writer, with a fresh set of eyes to catch those mistakes you might never see or think about; to do the critical analysis you would never do. You then take the suggestions and incorporate them. Perhaps print out another hard copy to read over (I do). And then one final look on the computer, along with checking chapter titles, headers, etc.

And walla! A finished manuscript you are proud to send to an editor and eventually to readers in the form of a published book.

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