Is your manuscript really truly ready for Prime Time? Or, does it need some revision to polish it (so it glows in the dark) before you launch your agent submission process?
FACT: Most writers equate manuscript revision with "life is hard, then you die." That's understandable. The task of editing a 70/85,000 word manuscript can seem impossible to achieve. Sadly, quite a few writers decide, "I can't do this," and give up writing forever.
The following THREE STEPS will help you move through the editing/revision process of your manuscript with as little stress as possible.
STEP ONE: Acknowledge and celebrate!
If you're at the revision crossroad, before you decide to take up face painting, dentistry, or sky diving, remind yourself that you've accomplished something millions of people talk about, but never, ever achieve. You've written a book, (short story or article) and have completed a first draft.
Good for you! At some point, your manuscript was only a concept. You brought it to life as you sat in front of a blank screen, and transformed your thoughts into words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters until you reached the end.
STEP TWO: Make friends with revision.
Next on your "to-do" list is revision. Yes revision. Now, don't go for avoidance and decide, instead, to schedule a root canal. Make friends with the word. Revision. It's part of the get-published process. Nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, writes a first draft that is clean, polished, and ready to go. No writer has ever been published without having to revise their manuscript, often more than once.
STEP THREE: Take it little bit by little bit.
Heed advice from my grandmother. When faced with an activity that reeked of tedium, she took it on, inch-by-inch, which made every task a cinch. It didn't matter if she was remodeling the family ice cream parlor, attacking weeds in her rutabaga and kale garden, or pickling cucumbers. She'd start at the beginning and take it a little bit at a time. Inch by inch.
Revision is a "take it a little bit at a time" process. Begin by searching out the low-hanging fruit: obvious "red-flag" words and weak verbs that diminish your writing and announce (to agents or acquisition editors) that you are a "rookie." Yikes. You don't want this to happen.
When you embark on the quest to locate red-flag words and revise sentences where they appear, your work automatically matures. You mature from "rookie" to "pro" to "published."
As you advance your way through revision, your awareness of red-flags expands. You become so sick and tired of revising them that you scrub them right out of your consciousness and won't use them on your next project or ever. Is that good news or what?
STEP THREE.1 Set a goal.
How to get started? Set a revision goal, five-or-ten pages, perhaps a chapter a day? Whatever works for you. When you complete your daily quota, treat yourself to a latte or a walk in the park. Acknowledge your never-say-die determination to revise and mature your work to propel you ever closer to your goals of agent/book contract/shelf space at Barnes and Noble.
Red Flag Removal~
If you're confused over what red-flags lurk in your query letter, synopsis, or manuscript, use my short tutorial that list the 35 worst red-flag rascals, the worst verb combination, and a Search-Mark-Revise process to help you locate and revise.
Ridiculously low-priced at only $7, it's available at MolliMart.
Need blog or newsletter material?
You're welcome to reprint and share this column with those in your writing world. Please acknowledge the source: Molli Nickell, the Publishing Wizard at getpublishednow.biz.
If you’d like to re-post any of my blogs, help yourself. Please reference the source as: Molli Nickell. THE Publishing Wizard at www.getpublishednow.biz