Millions of people worldwide write every day. The goals and experiences are different for every person. While many people write for joy and catharsis, the activity can sometimes get overwhelming for the authors. After all, coming up with a manuscript is not as simple as speaking your mind.
It can take writers months, even years, to produce a manuscript they feel confident about. Even if one does not spend that much time writing, writers always try to improve their manuscripts in many ways.
You may think that writing a manuscript is the most difficult part of your journey as a writer. However, that is an arguable statement. Many writers can agree that finding ways to improve your manuscript can be the hardest job.
Here are some effective tips for improving your manuscript for the best.
Table of Contents
1. Start with the Spellings
One of the most common mistakes writers make is thinking they can do it all at once. Whether you are writing a piece of flash fiction or a novel, it is best to start with the smallest and most noticeable mistakes and then work your way up.
Spelling mistakes are some of the most common writing errors. If left unchecked, spelling mistakes can undermine your reliability as a writer. Such small yet fundamental mistakes can sabotage your career as an emerging writer.
Therefore, it is best to start by checking the spelling in your manuscript. While most major writing platforms have a free spell checker, it’s still best to read your work. You can also ask a friend or colleague to help you with a fresh pair of eyes.
2. Hire an Editor
Every writer is not a good editor, and vice versa. This is one of the reasons why many writers worldwide choose to hire the best book editors in the UK rather than take responsibility for themselves. It is an effective way of ensuring your peace of mind.
Professional editors have years of experience in reviewing manuscripts for other writers. They can help you eradicate plot inconsistencies, factual mistakes, grammatical errors, inconsistent tones, flow issues, etc.
In addition, hiring an editor can also save you a lot of time as they take a lot of burden from your shoulders. You can use this time to focus on other important tasks, such as writing a query letter or marketing your upcoming work.
3. Avoid Weasel Words
Weasel words can be the biggest enemy of any writer trying to be definitive. These words may include may, might, can, as much as possible, etc., and can completely change the meaning of what you intend to say. Instead, it may lead to a completely opposite meaning.
You can start by searching for any verbs that you feel are overused. You must remember that there is no hard and fast rule to soften or qualify the assertions you are making. Every writer knows what they want to engage the reader, and you can feel confident to say that.
4. Look for Duplication
It is not an easy job to filter out all the small and big errors in your book. It is especially true for small mistakes such as repeated words. They can be easily overlooked by you but will definitely be noticed by your agent or their reader.
Even if you re-read your manuscript several times, there is always a chance of missing out on double words and punctuation marks. You can start by searching for repeated words in your writing platform and fix them to add crispness to your text.
5. Read Out Loud
Strengthening your manuscript is a lot more than fixing grammatical errors and adding consistency to the tone. The additional important practices can range from finding missing words to avoiding awkward phrases and descriptions.
While you may have read your manuscript in your head countless times, reading it out loud is another trick that can help you in figuring out a lot of errors and fixing them. You can grab a glass of water and read out loud so that you can hear the words you read.
If reading out loud gets exhausting, you can use reading software. This software can read the manuscript at your preferred speed and tone so that you can listen comfortably and take notes about any inconsistencies.
6. Add Page Numbers
Good writing and formatting practices can save you a lot of hassle. The best part is that you can also help other people involved in your book’s journey by following good writing practices. One of these practices is to give a page number to every page of your manuscript.
Numbering your pages allows your editor, agent, and fellows to communicate with you more effectively. For example, your editor can email you page numbers where they see certain room for improvement or avoidable grammatical mistakes.
Of course, numbering the pages of your manuscript can also save you from a lot of problems, such as being confused by rearranging your printouts.
7. Take a Printout
It can be hard to relax with a screen in front of your eyes at all times. While most writers work on their computers nowadays, many can agree that it is not the best medium to read your work and effectively use ways to improve your manuscript.
Therefore, it is best to take a printout of your manuscript, grab a cup of tea, and start reading while sitting back on a comfortable chair. You can mark the parts that need improvement with a pen and fix them on your computer later.
8. Go Easy on Yourself
It can be an arduous journey to review your work again and again. Writers either go too harsh on themselves through this process or keep giving themselves the benefit of the doubt. Either way, the journey of strengthening your work can get exhausting and overwhelming.
Therefore, it is important to give yourself valid breaks and pat yourself on the back for every achievement. It is okay to remind yourself that you are doing your best and your hard work will pay off at the end of the day.