Something set off a signal in my brain. Suddenly, I became disgusted with the state of our house. I had to make changes or go crazy, despite my husband's protests to leave well enough alone.
Before the necessary task of moving the furniture, what was inside everything had to be removed and put somewhere else. Some of the items we plucked out may find their way back to where they were before, while others will be donated or thrown away.
The walls are now painted, but nothing can go back to its proper place until the carpeting is installed.
What does this have to do with writing? Some of you may have already guessed.
Improving a house is very like editing a book. Sometimes an author can become complacent, unaware of the problems preventing a manuscript from being all it can be. After typing the words, "The End," we need to take a hard look and check for flaws before sending it out into the world.
Some are easy fixes. Others may be complex, requiring small or large parts to be moved around or gutted. It doesn't hurt to save the old version under a different name, and then make the changes. Also, if you're in doubt about discarded content, you can stick that in a separate file as well.
Once you've done all you can do on your own, consulting a professional editor is a wise course of action. Minds have a bad habit of supplying what should be there, when it really isn't. If you don't have an editor, you'll find many available at The Blood-Red Pencil.
Before sending your manuscript to an editor, here's a checklist for editing:
1. Spell check, but be careful, since sometimes that feature supplies what it wants to, instead of what's right.
2. Search for overused words, especially favorites - those you're in the habit of using.
3. Vary sentence construction.
4. Similar to #2 and #3 is making sure not to use the same word(s) in a row or close by to begin a sentence.
5. Use present tense when appropriate.
6. Discard as many of the just, only, as, and ing words as possible.
7. Check sequence to make sure reaction follows an action, and not vice versa.
8. Decide if each character's behavior makes sense.
Well, there you have it. I believe I've offered enough proof that getting a manuscript into shape can be similar to and about as daunting as improving a house!
You're welcome to comment by adding to my checklist, or expanding on an item already there.
Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. Short Stories Sequel: the Blessing or Curse Collection. Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com & Chick Lit Faves