Feb 1, 2010

The Red Pen and the Manuscript

The edits for Dog Show Detective are moving along, I have now scribbled all over the first six chapters. How to Revise Your Novel is the course that I have been using to help me learn about editing and I gave you an overview of the 1st step last week. This week I decided to focus on a book I downloaded straight to my iPod from the Amazon Kindle application, called Manuscript Makeover, by Elizabeth Lyon.

I haven't gotten very far into the book yet, but there has been some insightful views revealed already.

Here are couple of hints from the book:

Read a lot, and especially read loads of what you write - okay we kinda knew this, which is why I've been reading Trixie Beldon, The Thief Lord and other children's mysteries. What Lyon adds though is you should keep a file. This could be a notebook, hardcopy or electronic, but keep a record of all the really effective examples you come across in your reads. You could have one for great dialogue, one for character description, another for use of flashbacks. These passages can be used to measure the success of your own writing or as a guide for when you get stuck for ideas on how to describe the setting without boring your reader.

This file brings us onto another strategy from Lyon: Modelling. To refine your style take a descriptive passage that impresses you and try to imitate the syntax and emotion of the sentences for your own description. Manuscript Makeover provides examples and many more strategies for improving your writing style and tackling editing your manuscript. I'm enjoying it!

This week I'd like to leave you with a few editing links I found - beware, it's tempting to spend all your time reading sites and blogs on editing, leaving you no time to actually chop at that manuscript!

Book Dreaming - I love this blog, it's colourful, cheerful and has great content. This particular post has tips on editing that I liked.

Query Traker.net - This blogger is well known for advising on Querying publishers and agents, but this post tells you how to tackle editing a whole novel without letting it overwhelm you.

Improve Your Writing with these Editing Tips - Some tips on spotting problems with your prose, like try reading it backwards!

AboutAScreenplay - Just as relevant for novels. Make sure all your scenes contain the right formula to move the story along and capture the reader. Learn more about CONFLICT.

Dog Show Detective - The Edit:
My main lesson this week was to increase the conflict in each scene. I throw in loads of obstacles and challenges. Don't let your characters off lightly!


  1. Wow. Thanks for the hints from your book and for the shout-out, Charmaine. Much appreciated! :-)

  2. My favorite editing link is AutoCrit.com. It really helps me identify the problem areas of my manuscript.

    I couldn't edit without it!

  3. Thanks. Keeping a record is good advice. Will try to implement it!

  4. Thanks guys and Janine I'll check out autocrit.com