Building A Clean Manuscript

There is a great post about cleaning up your manuscript that I discovered via twitter. Boy I do love those random links I click. Since I am right smack in the middle of edits and starting to get a little anxious about the 40,000 words left on my plate, this was a great reminder at why I need to take the time and the energy to push through this before focusing on putting together my submission package.  I do believe this will be the last edit of LSM because I am finally happy with the quality of writing and the story that has thus emerged. The changes also work nicely with the second book, which I just finished writing the first draft of last month.  See how the timing works out?

To be honest I think every person should take their finished, fully edited work, hide it under the bed and work on another project. Just let it percolate a bit. Then come back to it a week or two later and look at it with a fresh perspective. If it still feels clean, well then you are good to go. But there is nothing worse than thinking you've caught everything and hitting send only to discover the typo three days later.

Anyway,  here is a link to the post. http://www.annemini.com/?p=14389 It's a bit lengthy, (I skipped the excerpts because they felt redundant and over exaggerated. The point was clearly made without them), but for a new author just taking on the editing of a massive project like a novel it could be helpful.

For me the best part of it was her definition of a clean manuscript.


"A clean manuscript, for benefit of those of you new to the term, is industry-speak for a manuscript completely devoid of misspelled works, grammatical gaffes, dropped words, incorrect punctuation, logic problems, formatting errors, clich├ęs, or any of the many, many other small errors that make those of us trained to read for a living grit our teeth because we see them so very often. Indeed, Millicents and contest judges are often specifically instructed to consider seriously only clean manuscripts."
I love this description because this is exactly what a writer should be working towards, it is the end goal that you should aspire to achieve BEFORE you start to query an agent.  And in my opinion, this is what the last and final round of edits should be focused on. But I won't go into my theory on what the editing process should look like yet. I'll save that for another post. Hopefully when LSM is ready to be sent out, (again).