3 Tips To Editing Your Manuscript – The Plight of Too Many Boxes

Photo by Gastonmag

Photo by Gastonmag

This past week chaos reigned at my house. Moving a family of six is no small thing. The number of boxes alone is staggering.

No matter how hard you try to get everything in the moving truck it seems like there are still things that don’t fit.

Editing your manuscript can be much the same way. There are so many words. Where do you begin to trim, cut, edit, or add?

This week’s move got me thinking about the editing process and how it compares. Here are 3 Tips To Editing Your Manuscript from my experiences with boxes and an oh-so-small 26 foot truck.

3 Tips To Editing Your Manuscript:

1. Define the Parameters. The size and shape of the truck made a huge difference in how we devised our packing plan. The same should be true of your manuscript’s length and genre.

Genre dictates the author’s style of writing. We each have our own flare, but we must also identify what makes our genre unique and avoid cutting style necessary to genre.

For example, romantic suspense can have more clipped sentences and shorter scenes. If you edited down your word count by making more clipped sentences in women’s fiction, you would lose the necessary style for your genre.

Additionally, the size of your manuscript may limit certain elements. Manuscripts 60,000 words or less cannot fully develop a subplot. If you are extending the subplot and your word count doesn’t allow for it, then an edit of words here would be wise.

When you edit, ask yourself these two guiding questions:

*Do the edits I’m making cut the style necessary to genre?

*Do the edits I’m making support the length of manuscript I’m trying to write?

2. Identify the Trim Percentage. This move we had lots of downsizing to do. Time to get

Photo by  riyasr

Photo by riyasr

rid of the baby toys the kids grew out of two years ago. I identified the percentage of things I wanted to get rid of in order to reach my goal.

Look at your manuscript the same way. Identify the percentage of trimming or adding you need to do to reach your word count range. Break it down into small pieces and aim to make that amount of meaningful changes to each segment.

When you edit ask yourself these two guiding questions:

*What percentage of my manuscript do I need to trim or add?

*Are the changes I am making meaningful?

3. Prioritize Content Importance. At some point during moving I got to the critical mass stage. There just was only so much more room in the truck.

Photo by Nob3L

Photo by Nob3L

When editing, start with the story structure edits essential to make the story strong. Your first priority is to engage and satisfy the reader. Tips on story structure can be found at My Book Therapy.

Once you have satisfied the story structure elements, then dig into the scene edits to tighten your writing to perfection.

When you edit ask yourself these two guiding questions:

*Have I prioritized what is essential to story structure before editing scenes?

*Are there edits I need to make to satisfy the reader?

When I edit I usually add words from the rough draft to the final draft. How about you? What is editing like for you?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

2 thoughts on “3 Tips To Editing Your Manuscript – The Plight of Too Many Boxes

  1. Me, too, Michelle. Right now I’m fleshing out my 95k manuscript–the first draft came in at 80K and I’m halfway through it. Right now I have 87,000 so it should work out. I hope. lol Great post.

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