So, you've finished your manuscript. After the party, what's the first step?
"What!? No, I want to keep working on it. In two months, I want my manuscript here:"Step #1: LEAVE THE MANUSCRIPT ALONE... FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS. I LEAVE IT TWO MONTHS.
"What am I suppose to do for two months?" Plenty.
I've compiled a list:
- Start a new book... In two months you may be close to finishing a second book. Also, because you're focusing on a new story, your mind will not be focusing on the wording of the last.
- Go on holiday.
- When was the last time you've painted your house?
- Could you watch all the seasons of your favorite shows? Here's a few you could try: Coronation Street, The Simpsons, Law & Order (all series), or Doctor Who.
- Read... try all Agatha Christie in order of publication.
- Take up playing the violin. Your family will love you or you could be dead. Either way, two months will fly by. However, take note, if violin playing causes you to lose fingers that you will need to edit with, perhaps take up another instrument. Singing.
- Oh yeah, and send the manuscript to some trusted reader. That means you don't want to send it to your mother. You want honest feedback, you want criticism. You don't want: "Oh, so this is the reason you were too busy to come visit your father and I. You know, in a few years we'll be dead and you'll regret wasting your time on a silly book... Read it? Oh, I'll read it, you obviously feel I have nothing better to do. Picking up after your father and your brother, I do it in my sleep..." Well, you get the point.
Step #2: READ IT THROUGH ONCE WITH A SMALL NOTEBOOK.
I say small because this isn't the time to make revisions, it's the time to record major revisions. Thing such as:
- Is the plot logical?
- Are all loose ends tied up sufficiently?
- Enough plot twists?
- For mystery writers: Enough clues? Are the clues hidden enough? Enough red-herrings?
- Are you consistent?
- Does it switch back and forth making it hard to follow?
- How is the narrator's voice?
- Is the MC likable?
- Have you put too much backstory into the first few chapters?
- Have you described him/her enough?
- Have you resolved the MC's inner journey?
- Does she defeat the antagonist in a way that satisfies the reader?
- Is the character consistent and yet naturally changing throughout the story?
- Have you really explained his/her motives? Why they do what they do? Why he/she acts the way he/she acts?
- Does he have a big enough role?
- Does he seem plausible?