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December 1, 2010 / Chersti Nieveen

Revamping that Manuscript

With NaNoWriMo barely over, it’s time to think of revising those manuscripts! Here are some great ideas I’ve learned along the way of reworking your manuscript.

1. Print it — You’d be surprised at how different it looks in ink, and what changes a printed out copy will inspire.

2. Read it out loud — seriously, try it! Hearing your own words helps you catch mistakes you might otherwise miss.

3. Vary your sentences –Short sentences combined with long sentences gives fun variety to your manuscript. But be careful: if you’re using long, run-on sentences, start using more periods to cut those sentences up.

4. Cut the fat — anything that doesn’t add to the manuscript needs to go! That includes superfluous words or scenes that we as writings might just love, but still have to go. Cut those darlings!

5. Use specific words — try to use concrete nouns and verbs (and modifiers!) that add details to the sentence. Instead of “walked,” use ambled or sauntered.

6. Let it sit — use December to celebrate holidays and LET YOUR MANUSCRIPT SIT. Don’t touch it for the next month, so you can come back to it with a fresh eye. And if you feel it’s too soon, dive into revisions and when you’re done with that, let it sit for at least a month. Start something new if you have to. You’ll be surprised when you go back and see it after a month.

So how did your NaNoWriMo go? I’m actually thinking of doing a DECWriMo since I missed it in Nov — anyone care to commit and join?

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3 Comments

  1. Joel / Dec 1 2010 9:03 am

    Hey, I’m all for joining!
    This is a great post, and I think I’ll employ these methods to help in my manuscript, after it is destroy… er, I mean critiqued by my upcoming full novel critique. 🙂

  2. Jenilyn Tolley / Dec 1 2010 9:04 am

    I might join you in your DecWriMo. Except it’ll probably be more of a DecReviseMo. Think I can finish revising my entire WIP by Dec 31st? I’m on page 19 right now…

  3. Liesl / Dec 1 2010 11:12 am

    Great advice. I particularly like the printing it out and reading out loud advice. They do make a world of difference!

    Since I just finished my WIP 1st draft I’m in the blessed resting period. Merry Christmas to me!

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