When is a Final Draft a Final Draft?

The Final Draft

So you have drafted and drafted, edited, cut and added and spell checked. So you have your final draft. You’re happy with your work and just summoning up the courage to cast your ‘baby’ to the wolves of the publishing world.

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 Stop right there.

 I have discovered no matter how many times you read the manuscript you have always missed something.  Don’t send you ‘baby’ out there with its shoelaces undone.

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My advice put it away for a week. Then look at it again. Read it aloud, again. You might be surprised how many bits you change, typos you missed or when you used a passive voice. Read it out loud, feel the pacing, rhythm and nuances. I know you will be thoroughly sick of it by now. You might never want to see it again, but do that last review anyway.

 

Have you checked for?

  1. Repeated words
    • How many times have you used ‘was’
    • Or your favorite words—mine are smiled, shrugged and turned.
    • Use the ‘find’ tool to check it out. Some versions of word will give you the number of times you have used the same word.
  2. Have you checked for ‘independently moving body parts? Like ‘his hand covered hers’ instead of ‘he covered her hand with his’
  3. Have you checked for adverbs – slowly – use ambled or quietly instead try tiptoed. Make sure you are expressing the nuances you mean to.
  4. How are your paragraphs – too short – too long
  5. What about your chapters – have you broken at the right place.
  6. How about ‘began’ – your characters should just do things – ‘he began to walk across the room’ use instead ‘he walked across the room’.
  7. ‘Feel’ – ‘when he kissed her she felt her breasts tingle’ try instead ‘When he kissed her, her breasts tingled’.
  8. and then’ – editors usually prefer either ‘and or ‘then’
  9. Have you followed the submission guidelines to the letter
  10. Have you tidied up loose ends – are all your characters and material items accounted for? Like she had that sword in chapter 10, but where is it now in chapter 13 or at the end.
  11. Punctuation, grammar, spelling – read up on the rules if it is not your forte.

  12. Have you checked for passive writing
  13. Have you checked for ‘show not tell’?
  14. Watch for POV- do not head hop
  15. Watch for redundant words – ‘she waved her hand at them’ should just be ‘she waved at them’
  16. Check the scene choreography – make sure that fight or love scene is physically possible.
  17. What out for slang or dialects
  18. Do the bits that should make the reader cry or laugh make you cry or laugh.
  19. And before you press ‘send’ make sure you have attached the files.

Now– are you happy with it. Sure?

 

I am sure I could add to this list, but as long as you have done your very best, get it out there. No manuscript will get acquired by lying in the bottom of the drawer or in an archived file.

sandcastles

Now you have a magnificent sandcastle…

See how my manuscripts, my ‘babies’ are now published novels. Purchase a copy

Demolition of the Heart

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Deathly Embrace

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Blood Ties a Broken Heart.

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