Thursday, October 17, 2013

Whipping Your Manuscript Into Shape and Free PDF Booklet

I am getting ready for National Picture Book Month . . . and PiBoIdMo!

I am going to try (notice I said try) to post about picture books every day in November! That is a big endeavor, so I am already writing posts and saving them.

Stop by each day and read and learn a little bit about picture books.
I will try not to disappoint you.

But, until November arrives I am working on my middle grade novels.
I've got out my whip and I am whipping them into shape.

Here is a little checklist of some things I am doing.

   If something is in there that shouldn't  be - delete it to the wastebasket - no matter how much you are attached to it.

  Check the chapter endings - do they make us excited to go on to the next chapter? If not, change them so they do.

   Does the first page make us want to continue reading? If not, change it so it does.

  Use your find button. Check for 'it'. I bet most of them can be changed to a more specific noun. Check for 'that'. I bet many of them can be taken out. Check for 'ly' words. Check for telling words, such as: saw, smelled, heard and felt.

  Check for 'your overused' words. You know what I mean, favorite words that pop into your writing too many times. Everyone's words are different. I have a tendency to overuse old, that, of and just.

Other unnecessary words can be: about, actually, almost, like, appears, approximately, even, exactly, finally and really. Check for redundant phrases, such as: sat down, end result,  free gift, combine together, kneel down, raise up, exact same, etc. You get the idea.

  Check your story. Does your character grow? Are your characters likeable? Do they have flaws? No one likes a perfect character. Are there unique parts in your manuscript? Is there something in your story that makes it stand out? etc.

Are you whipping a manuscript into shape? Hope my checklist helps you out a little. 

√  Check out my sidebar. If you want a free PDF of my booklet, The Handy Little A to Z Book on Writing, just email me and let me know. I'll  email one out to you. Contents include: A B Cs of Writing, Specific Words, Find Button, Tips on Writing ABC Books, Tips on Writing Articles,  Prompts, What If's, Sites for Writers, Last, But Not Least - Helpful Tidbits.

I think you'll like it!

Happy Writing and don't forget about November and Picture Book Month.

Posted by Janet Smart  on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.


  1. Good tips Janet. I'm in the midst of doing the weeding of what does not belong in my manuscript. Never ending. I have a few pages of Sweet Baby James on my blog if you are interested. Good luck with your project! Hugs, B

  2. ...and my overused word: this. :)

  3. You point out some very good things to check on our stories. One of my major problems is writing too many words so I usually have to cut a bunch. I'm trying to cut now on my WIP, so I won't have to get rid of my favorite words later. Mine are just, that, and many others. :) Good luck with your picture books next month.

  4. Great checkpoints! I think you could apply these to non fiction too. Wishing you all the best with PiBoIdMo! :)


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