Summer editing

Summer time can be a bit slow in the publishing world. Books have been labored over,  a bevy of sales conferences have been attended, and the fall list is being sold. The little lull before the spring list has to be hustled through it’s paces allows publishing houses and literary agencies a breather. Yep it’s editor and agent vacation time. And, it’s the perfect time for doctoring manuscripts that have been rejected.  Just keep in mind that there’s always room in the world for another wonderful story, and it could be yours.

Even if you’re in a writing group that’s taking a summer break, you can whip your manuscript into shape.

First off, look at the big picture.

  • What is the problem at the heart of your story? Is it clear?
  • Is the voice authentic, engaging?
  • Is the point of view consistent?
  • Is the opening working? Are you hooking your reader?
  • Is the pacing tight, especially in the middle of your manuscript?
  • Is there too much telling and not enough showing?
  • Are you information dumping or using excessive description?

Now Look at Character.

  • Are your characters three dimensional? Well rounded?  Flawed?
  • Do your characters evoke empathy in the reader, even if they are not likable?
  • Are you allowing action to reveal character?
  • Is the dialogue consistent with your characters’ age & sensibility?
  • Are your characters’ responses and actions in keeping with who they are?
  • Are you being too kind to your characters?
  • Have you allowed your characters, and not coincidence to solve their problems?
  • Do your characters change throughout the story?

Most stories can also benefit from a story scene by scene analysis.  Sometimes individual scenes go on for too long, lack clarity, are overly descriptive or do not contribute to the plot.

So, by all means, enjoy your summer, but do take a little time to revisit those rejected manuscripts.  Who knows, by the time the fall rolls around, you may be submitting the next big literary hit.  Good luck.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sherylbooks
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 21:34:10

    Thanks. I’ll be doing exactly that myself quite soon.

    Reply

  2. Shari Green
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 12:58:51

    A great list of questions to ponder before tackling revisions. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply

  3. Kristin Butcher
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 11:26:18

    Well said, Sheryl.

    Reply

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