Monday, May 25, 2009

Manuscript Makeover

For the last week or so, I've been reading Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon. It was recommended to me by a fellow romance author, Emily Ryan Davis. Since I've been planning to revise Secrets Uncovered into a full length novel, I have been trying to find ways to turn 30K into 80K. Sometimes, I have way too many ideas for things I could do and it's not always clear as to what I should do.

But reading this book is great. It's primarily a revision/editing book for writers who have no idea where to begin the process. Manuscript Makeover is also a craft manual. There are useful tidbits for expanding bare bones scenes through "riff writing" and processes for taking paragraphs or lines from your favorite books and learning how to emulate the technique. And, of course, there is the basic stuff on sentence structure, unnecessary words, and reading your manuscript aloud to catch awkward phrasing.

Though I'm only on chapter five, I'm already in love with this book. Manuscript Makeover is just what I needed. And, I haven't even gotten to part three on characterization.

What I love about this book is that it covers all the major aspects of revision/self-editing. It's not just a manual for how to clean up your sentences and eliminate "that", "was", "had", etc. It is not just a book about cutting word count for clarity. It teaches you techniques for writing and shows you how to emulate your favorite writers to learn from their description or their dialogue or characterization techniques. It has simple methods for you to re-read your own writing and listen as a reader would listen.

I highly recommend Manuscript Makeover. It is pure genius!

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