Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm not finished, yet?????

Every time I think that I couldn’t possibly edit my WIP anymore, I find something to correct. I’ve compiled a list of things that are sure signs that your MS is not ready to send to that agent yet.

You’ve never had a critique partner. No, sorry folks, mommy dearest doesn’t count. You need an objectionable person with knowledge of writing to critique the story. It’s like when mommy said you looked pretty for your 8th grade dance with the fuchsia puff dress, purple headband, green stockings and white dress shoes. She didn’t want to tell you you looked like a mix between Punky Brewster and Rainbow Bright. She’ll do the same to your manuscript. Trust me!

You enlist the “Find” feature in Word and discover that you’ve used “was” 30,000 times. Um…clear sign you’ve probably overused other words also. Grab a thesaurus and have a go at it. But don’t go crazy with that thing. ***ahem*** I’ve had that problem, well still do. You're not writing a dissertation. Remember that.

You’ve never had a beta reader. Now you can get mommy to read it. You need a regular lay reader to read it and tell you what they think. If you write YA or MG, you should get a young person to read those. Don’t ask your grandpa to read your YA romance with a female protagonist. What’s the likelihood that any grandpa anywhere would be reading a Gossip Girl type book? Not very likely. ***I’m just saying*** But I guess it could happen. Maybe???

You need a dictionary or another writer friend to explain what some of the terms in this post mean. If you don’t know what YA, MS, WIP or MG is then you may not have done your research on the craft of writing enough either. I know that may seem harsh but it is the truth. Do you have to write a perfect MS? Yes. As perfect as you can get it. But you can’t do that until you know:  how to edit, how to revise, and use proper story structure. So, if you’re having trouble with this post, then you’ll have problems in your MS.

You've only deleted 10 words from your first draft. If you’ve deleted at least 1500 words of the original MS that’s a good sign you’re on your way. This is just a "me" thing, but I can’t see how you could edit/revise your MS and not delete at least 500 words. I always make my draft considerably long, with too many unnecessary words and phrases, and too much backstory. I have a lot of cutting to do in the end. You should too. If you can’t cut some of what you’ve written because you’re emotionally attached to the words, then that’s okay. You won’t be able to sell it but you do have other options. Print your MS and use the pages to line the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It’ll save you money and time since you won’t have to get cabinet liners. ***I’m just saying***

I hope you find inspiration to keep editing. It can seem a daunting task but you can do it. If you feel that you can’t then I have one last tip. ***You could print the MS and wallpaper your office with it. It might actually look nice if you used colored paper. Ask your mother, she'll tell you if it looks good.

 Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!


  1. Editing is more than half of the writing process. :) It took me years to figure out the most effective way to write, and now I have a good, general plan. I'm a sparse writer (as in, my first draft usually contains half the words of the final draft), so I write my story in layers. First draft is voice, main character, and big plot points (with a bunch of lame placeholders for other stuff). Second draft is secondary characters and subplots. Third draft is transitions and another look at all the characters. Then I spend however many more drafts going through sentence structure, word choice, and more character stuff.

    This doesn't even include all the prep work I do *before* I begin writing...

  2. I have awarded you with a blog award. Stop by my blog and check it out.

  3. These days, I not only have my trusty writing group read my WIP, but I intend to hire a professional editor to line edit before sending it to my agent. Oh, and that's after about ten drafts!!!

  4. Tabitha, gosh, you sound like me. Awesome!!! Editing is time consuming but worth it.

    Jennifer, thanks so much. I truly appreciate it. I love your blog so this means a lot.

    Catherine, I understand about hiring an editor. I'm considering it also. The only thing holding me back is the cost or I'd have already done it.

  5. Love the post! True! True! True! All of it! I have to say you've also inspired me to start a new cabinet lining/wallpaper business...I have enough edits and cuts to decorate the entire neighborhood!

  6. I get to a point where I can't find anything else to change. Yet if I put it away for a long time (months) I'll find things again. So if you can be patient, it helps.

  7. Yes, Kelly you're right. Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, not many of us possess it. LOL

  8. Oh- I love this post. SO funny bu tso true. A little distance and perspective never hurt a good writer....

  9. You are so right about mommy and the manuscript! I could never let my mom read mine, because she'd gush no matter what I'd put on the paper.

    And I'll definitely be doing more contests- thanks for participating in the Name Game!

  10. Tgayer, distance is a writers friend, I agree. Thanks!!!

    Gina, yes mothers are built without a critism radar when it comes to their childrens work - well, some. I can't wait until you have another contest. The last one was fun. Though I was so very wrong in my guesses. Thanks!!!


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