Image Map

How To Finish or Revise Your Manuscript

Are You Having Trouble Finishing Your First Draft?
Does Your Manuscript Need Some Fine Tuning?
I have been reading books on Revising Manuscripts and I have put together a list of tips, ideas & suggestions that I found helpful. It is a combination of exercises and suggestions taken from a variety of books designed to improve the craft of fiction writing. It is rather lengthy so I am going to break it up into a three part segment.

If you have a first or subsequent draft to revise then you use these suggestions on your own work. Even if you have not completed your first draft, this is an excellent guide to help you improve your writing.  If you have not completed your first draft, it is a wise idea to study the work of authors you admire or books from the same genre that you are writing.

It is best to study a novel that you have already read from beginning to end at least one time. The next time you read the novel, you will be reading it as a writer. Plan to pick it apart and decipher it. Learn from published authors what works and what does not.

Select two books that you liked or that kept your attention for whatever reason. Pick two of your absolute favorite books. The gist of this idea is taken from a book written by Chris Eboch, titled  ADVANCED PLOTTING.  You can purchase the Kindle edition for only $4.99

In Monday's Post, I will show you how Chris Analyzes the plot of a book for conflict, tension and how to analyze your main character; subplots and secondary characters; Theme; and how to fine tune your manuscript.

Today I will share some basic tools for analyzing your draft. Again , if you do not yet have a completed draft, use these exercises to analyze two of your favorite books. Analyzing the work of a respected author in your genre will open your eyes to things you are doing that are not working and show you why they are not. You will also pick up necessary tools to develop a great first draft.

Pick two recent books I liked and re-read as writer studying the craft.

Determine how many chapters

Average length of chapters
Average length of sentence
Did they follow the 8 sequence 4 part/three act story structure?
How much of each chapter/scene is
1. Exposition
2. Action
3. Narrative
4. Dialogue
5. Backstory
6. Character's internal thoughts

How and when does the author weave backstory in?
Why do we care about the MC?
How & when is the MC introduced?
What dialogue tags are used & how often?
What other ways does the author break up the dialogue so we don't have talking heads? (action, movement, facial expressions, gestures, other non verbal cues)
Can you tell the characters apart. Do that have unique and distinguishable mannerisms, quirks, habits, manner of speech, dialect, accent, favorite sayings that clearly identify each character. How prominent is the voice.
* A good idea

(Try reading just that character's dialogue aloud)~~ Is dialogue lively & interesting-advancing plot & creating tension? Is it believable

  1. For each chapter or scene write a sentence describing what is happening

For each chapter or scene list the emotions portrayed
Highlight the major emotions
Track subplots by briefly mentioning what happens in chapters where subplots appear
Use a different color highlighter for each subplot
For example
Pink for the romance subplot
red for the villains subplot
blue for MC and her father's subplot
purple for conflict at work subplot
Make note of cliffhangers that end chapters
These are general & basic ideas.
Monday we will outline more specific and detailed ways to revise your draft or use authors in your genre to help improve your first draft.

Get ready for some major analyzing.

On Monday we will  analyze the plot for conflict & Tension
In part 3 we will analyze the Main Character, subplots, secondary characters, theme, & fine tuning using a template from Advanced Plotting by Chris Eboch.

For a sneak peak at some of the Templates used, visit the author's Kris Bock aka Chris Eboch website. Take a look at this awesome Romantic Suspense authors tips & ideas.

Remember this writing exercise can be used to revise or edit your novel also.

How about you? Do you ever read as a writer? Do you pick apart novels in an effort to learn from the best? How do you decipher novels?


Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks for sharing these tips!

It's funny how you mentioned reading other books to see how they were crafted, because recently, I've started doing that in order to help me figure out how to get the best out of my work! Great post!

Melissa Sugar said...

Some good tips! I found the guide in Save the Cat works best for me.

Melissa Sugar said...

Tag! You're it in the Campaign's 11 Questions Game! Head over to to pick up your questions! I can't wait to read your answers!

Your blog is very pretty. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

These are really great tips.  Another author in my critique group suggested analyzing a book similar to what I write. I'll have to try that.

Melissa Sugar said...

I think for me, to get a first draft properly outlined and going would be a great goal.   ;D  LOL!!!  I have to admit it.  It's all me and no one else.

Melissa Sugar said...

Yes. I'm a novel picker. And I'll be back on Monday.

Melissa Sugar said...

Great advice! I'm definitely going to have to look for inspiration and instruction from some of my favorite novels.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks for visiting

Melissa Sugar said...

Good to know. I am just starting to do this

Melissa Sugar said...

Good luck. Thanks for visiting. You will get it done.

Melissa Sugar said...

It sounds like a good tip. I read another book over the weekend by Larry Brooks & he makes the same suggestion

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you. I will head over tonight. We have been very busy this weekend with Mardi Gras, but I will get there tonight-even if it is very late.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks Alex. I am reading the second Save The Cat now. It is a toss up for me right now between Save the Cat's Blake Snyder and the four part novel by Larry Brooks & the similair screenplay ideas by Syd Field. All great examples

Melissa Sugar said...

It sounds like I am not alone in this process. I like it so far.

Melissa Sugar said...

I asked a question about this on my blog the other day, great to find some suggestions here. 

Melissa Sugar said...

Since the moment I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series, I have not looked at an author's work without noting how alike or different it is from mine. Love the idea of re-reading your chosen genre to gain some perspective.

By the by, Mardi Gras party going on upstairs there in your blog? Wowzer! You've been *tagged* by me on my blog. Hope you can play! I must know more about you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design By Corinne Kelley @ The Cutest Blog on the Block