When you start a new manuscript it’s all about get the story down. But when you finish it’s all about getting it ready for your readers. Some writers have said they write like a mad person for the first draft and then polish it to a shine afterwards. Others say they like to take their time while writing so that the polishing is to a minimum. For me I fall somewhere in between. I do some corrections as I go during the first draft, but I’m trying to wean myself from doing that. It really hurts the writing process.
When you type The End it’s nowhere near the end. This is when the work begins. The task ahead is sometimes daunting and hard for the author. There’s so much to do in the final stages. Most of it is painful for a writer. The reason being, while writing the first draft you’re doing what you’re made to do, but in the final stages you’re not writing, you’re correcting and deleting. It hurt’s and takes time.
What happens if you put out the first draft without polishing it up? Well, let’s just say, don’t go out and buy anything on credit in hopes to pay it off with a disaster. What’s funny is even the biggest authors say that their finished product still has flaws. Sometimes it’s hard to get it all out of there, especially if it’s a really long manuscript.
So here are some of the steps that I go through to polish up my manuscripts:
1: As soon as a manuscript is finished I take a breather. I step back for at least a couple of hours, if not a couple of days. It helps to get you into the right state of mind to do the deed at hand.
2: Then I hit spellcheck. This helps to eliminate the common spelling and grammar issues, but please don’t leave it just to spellcheck.
3: Make sure that you read the manuscript all the way through. You’d be amazed what spellcheck misses as far as grammar. I recently found some of the craziest errors in my work. When you’re in a writing frenzy sometimes what’s in your head doesn’t come out of your fingers exactly the same.
4: It might help to read it out loud. Sometimes certain parts need to read out loud to make sense. I’ve made more changes after readind out loud.
5: Make sure you read it from a readers point of view, not your own. Make sure the plot has a pivotal point and that your characters draw interest, not flies…
Of course I only listed 5 items to start with, you need to take your manuscript apart. Make it the best possible writing you can. This is what sells more books. If you make stupid errors and don’t correct them, readers will grow weary and ignore your work.
As always, good writing and May God Bless You…