Revising Your Manuscript: Fourteen Questions to Ask Yourself
1) Can you summarize the story in about a sentence or two?
Three daughters try desperately to save their father from his conniving new wife.
A cop has to fight a losing battle with the bottle and discover the identity of a serial killer.
2) Have you checked spelling, grammar and formatting?
Make the editor's job easy and you'll be ahead of the game.
3) Is your hero/heroine interesting or someone readers will be interested in?
The reader has to care about what happens to this character.
4) Does the story start with a hook, an interesting question that will draw the reader in?
Read the first sentence of many of your favorite books. How did the authors draw you into their worlds? Also please remember the type of story you are telling. Don't write a beginning sentence just for shock value; make sure it fulfills the promise of the story.
5) Did one or more of your characters change throughout the story? If not, was that on purpose? People usually like to see a character arc, someone achieving their goal or reaching enlightenment.
Stories are usually about a person and a problem. Once the problem is solved (or unsolved) how does that affect the character? Good or bad the reader wants to know.
6) Have you mastered point of view?
If you get confused, you're in trouble.
7) Does your dialogue move the story along? Does everyone sound like themselves or could readers interchange them?
8) Is there tension throughout the story?
Every story has moments of low tension, but if you have a four-page description of how a character brushed his teeth you had better be one heck of a stylist and stick with writing literary fiction. Popular fiction readers will likely set your book aside with a quick flick of the wrist.
9) Is there unanswered conflict until the end?
Leave the reader curious about something whether it is the first name of a key character or the resolution of a subplot.
10) Does every scene matter?
Again the teeth brusher.
11) Does everyone have a motive that counts?
Whether it is the hero, villain or sidekick, it helps the story if the reader is able to understand the actions of each character. If everyone has a viable motive, it also heightens the tension.
12) Does each chapter drive the story forward offering more information?
13) Does the ending do what it's supposed to?
Mystery writer Mickey Spillane said, "The first page sells the books, the last page sells the next book."
14) Do you like your story?
I hope so because in the world of publishing you need to be your book's greatest champion.
Dara Girard is the author of three novels and a member of Romance Writers of America and Novelists Inc. You can find more articles and links for writers at her website: http://www.daragirard.com
10 Tips To Help You Pack More Power Into Your Business Writing
1. Before you write anything down define not what you want to say, but what your message must achieve. Keep that firmly in focus at all times and use it as the main goal for everything you write. Ask yourself "does this concept/approach /clever headline/earnest mission statement/ really help the message achieve its objectives?" If the honest answer is no, alter it or rethink it completely.
In Your Own Words
More Tips For New Writers (Part I)
Mind Mapping Your Journal Entries
Clustering, also called Mind Mapping, is a great way to savespace and time when you journal. For those of you thataren't familiar with Mind Mapping, you can search in Googleon the words or reading one of Tony Buzan's (the creator)books. At the end I've included the ten basic rules of MindMapping.
Are You Feeling Dash-ing? Using Punctuation for Effect and Influence
The dash--that curious mark of punctuation people use in their email and letters. Not the hyphen (-), but the dash (--). It's made by hitting the hyphen twice. In most cases, when you type the hyphen twice it will turn into one long dash (-). Sometimes you see the dash inserted where a comma would fit; other times you see it where you would put parentheses. How is the dash supposed to be used-and when can you use it to get the effect you want?
Turning Your Journal Into An Idea Bank
A few magazines refer to their written idea sources in assigning articles to reliable, experienced writers, or even allow those writers to peruse them for topics to write about.
The Bottomless Notebook
Reading through a writer's notebook or journal is like discovering pearls, rubies and diamonds amidst a pile of rubble.
Freelance Writing: How Many Regular Clients Should You Have?
This is a tough question for every freelance writer. For me, the worst working scenario is when a few weeks go by and all my work comprises one-off jobs for small clients who never become repeat customers.
Whether you keep a separate spiritual journal or just wantto add your spiritual postings in your regular journal, youwill want to read this.
Planning Time To Write
In his book, "Achieving Financial Independence as a Freelance Writer," Ray Dreyfack, a full-time freelancer for 30 years, suggests that writers "ease" into full-time writing while maintaining their day jobs. If you're following this advice, either by choice or by necessity, you know that it's not always easy. Obligations to jobs and families tend to take priority over writing. It's easy to lose focus of your writing goals when you have so many distractions in your life.
Suspense Novels Made Easy
Suspense novels are probably the easiest novels to write. Suspense novels require a simple formula, which will make your work truly suspenseful. Follow this basic recipe, and you're well on your way to building a whole library of successful suspense novels.
Screenwriting ? The Value of Structure
Structure in the form of frameworks, work processes and goals enhances creative output:
Arouse Your Short Story And See It Published
Are you ready to abandon your short stories? Before you toss your newest story in the trash, revisit it using many of the same guidelines editors keep in mind when they review your work. If you follow these guidelines, you will be many steps closer to placing your short story in a well-known literary journal.
The Spectre Hound
And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring,and its wild bark thrill'd around,His eyes had the glow of the fires below,'twas the form of the spectre hound
10 Tips on How to Cultivate Relationships with Editors
If you are an aspiring writer, or you simply want to augment your professional qualifications by publishing material related to your field of expertise, listen up. Here are a few tips that will help ingratiate you in the hearts and minds of editors. Once you've established a positive rapport with an editor, you may find the publication to be an excellent outlet for your work ? and if you're good enough ? you may be invited to submit more work.
Book Publishing Contracts For Writers: What Should I Look Out For?
Dave, I just got a contract for a book from a publisher that I haven't worked with before. These long, tedious legal documents just befuddle me, however! Would you mind spinning through this and seeing what you think about the terms and clauses herein?
Understanding Editorial Guidelines
Editorial guidelines, also known as writer's guidelines, are the rules set forth by publishers for contributing authors. In order to have your article taken seriously you must review the guidelines prior to submission. It is also recommended that you review previous editions of the publication to get a better feel for the types of articles favored by the editor(s).
The Myths of Writing: Have You Bought Into These?
There is an image most people carry of the artist (think Van Gough's self-portrait, the one with his ear bandaged), working in solitude in a barren garret in a dark corner of the city. Everyday is a struggle. He continually walks between moments of brilliance and moments of insanity. It's a romantic image, I suppose. Built around the belief that an artist must suffer for his art.
Writers Block is No Longer a Problem
"If you're like me, than I'm sure you're pretty familiar with the well-known writer's block.
Top Ten Ways to Write a Book That Sells
Is there a book inside of you? Yes? Then why don't you write it? Or, if you've already written a book, wouldn't you like to sell more? So many of you have a great idea for a book, even a dynamite title, but much more is needed to write a book that sells. Here's the top ten ways to write a book that sells:
Tips For Better Writing
It is certainly true that we don't get a second chance to make a first impression. As the impression we make on the Internet is almost always with the written word, is it unfortunate that there is so much poor writing bouncing around in cyberspace. The following tips are intended to help you make a better first impression.
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