Thursday, February 10, 2011
Hey everyone, don't forget about our February contest, where you win a free book!
This is the first of many contests, we hope, and we want you to be the winner.
See the tab above to find out how to play. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Now on to your regularly scheduled Mb4 post...
How to Slenderize Your Manuscript by Kim Smith
One of the things that gives me a happy frame of mind when writing is to have a clean, unfettered manuscript. When I wake up in the morning and open a WIP that has been edited, that has a streamline feel, and there isn’t garbage cluttering it up, I feel great.
When, on the other hand, I open my book and find extra plot-lines/unnecessary characters or just bad writing all over the place, it stresses me out.
These are a few tips for getting the junk out:
Do it in small chunks. Set aside 5 pages to work on at a time, and when that 5 is satisfactory, stop. Then tackle another 5 the next day. Conquering the entire work can be overwhelming, and you might decide it is hopeless and find yourself uncomfortably blocked.
Set aside a couple hours to do it. This may seem elementary… and it is. It’s simply a different strategy, and I say do whatever works for you. Sometimes, for me, it’s good to set aside part of a manuscript, or an entire scene to do in a set amount of time. The weekends are perfect! Just whatever works best for me in the time I have.
Sort through your manuscript and cut scenes and rearrange them. Have a folder to put the cut scenes in handy. When you pull everything out of a scene, send it to the new folder (I call this OUTTAKES but I am an old videographer, too). Put in new material, and make a decision: trash the old, add old to new, or keep new and leave old for a while until you are certain it won't hurt anything else in the book. Don’t put it back in the pile for a good while. You may find you never need it again, but that scene could fit in another work, or give you a muse-tweak that sends the book in a new direction.
Study your habits and see if you are making these unnecessary plots or characters out of a bad habit. Sometimes there’s a reason you have pages of crap all over the place, and an OUTTAKES folder that is stuffed full. Craft books with emphasis on writing tight might help.
Celebrate when you’re done! Give yourself a big old pat on the back. This sort of cleaning out the old junk and rearranging or reordering or plain old remaking your book is very therapeutic.