Coming up with a great manuscript is no walk in the park. Ask anyone who has ever tried to come up with one; they will assure you that it’s hard work. Between the thousands of hours of work that you have to put in and the rigorous editing that is required to sharpen the script to perfection, it can get crazy really fast.
Nonetheless, the only consolation at the end of the day is that you could end up coming up with a remarkably astounding manuscript that will allure thousands, if not millions, of readers to your masterpiece. Below is a checklist of some of the vital things that you need to take into consideration while fine tuning your manuscript to greatness.
1) Ensure everything serves a purpose
Each word you write, each phrase you use, each sentence, paragraph, and chapter that you knit together must add something to the story and in the end enhance the reader’s experience. It has to be able to:
- Develop the characters.
- Speak to the themes of the work.
- Drive the narrative.
- Paint a portrait of the setting.
Keeping this sense of purpose will help tidy up your manuscript until it’s taut, razor sharp and trim.
2) Do away with the adverbs
This is probably something that you have heard way too many times before from either authors, editors or writing teachers. You see although they ideally help modify an adjective or verb they have a pretty bad reputation because of their tendency to tell readers certain details rather than showing them. It is therefore advisable to as much as possible keep your use of adverbs to the minimum. Instead of using the phrase “ran quickly” use something like “sped” or “rushed”.
3) Avoid using excess descriptions
A common mistake that most new writers make is divulging too much information in their descriptions. And while it’s pretty understandable in efforts to draw readers into the world of your manuscript, it can be detrimental in a way especially because most readers like to add their own sense of imagination into the text.
4) Desist from using over long sentences or paragraphs
There are few things that best describe a beautiful piece of writing like a sense of rhythm, flow, and ebb. It is writing comprised of sentences varying in length from very short to long and complex. Confusing sentences can turn reading into a chore, as your readers desperately try to understand your writing.
5) Keep the use of passive voice to a minimum
The use of passive voice (example: “The torch was passed by Steven to Rebecca.”), though common, only tends to drag down the quality of your prose. For purposes of tightening up your writing, adding clarity to your prose. Lending a sense of immediacy it would be in your best interest to rearrange the sentences to be active rather than passive. (Example: “Steve passed the torch to Rebecca…”).
If at any point you get overwhelmed with all the editing, just remember that the stronger your manuscript is, the better your chances of success in the long run. And quite frankly, nothing makes a manuscript stronger than close revision.