7 Ways to Polish Your Manuscript Before Publishing It
Writing the first manuscript of your book takes weeks and months, and you pour your heart and soul into it. However, that’s not all it takes to make your book a bestseller. Before publishing, it's crucial to take a step back and polish your work to ensure it's the best it can be.
Editing and shaping your manuscript involves refining your writing, improving pacing, smooth character development, and ensuring that your story flows consistently. The question is, how do you do all that? There are certain tips and ways that will make it easy for you to polish your manuscript.
Below in this article, we are going to mention these in brief detail.
1. Take a Print of Your Manuscript
Whether you have been writing your manuscript on a computer or writing it by hand, it is essential to change your perspective on your work and take a printout as soon as possible. This will give you a completely fresh look at your work, and you will come back to it with a new mindset.
Start by marking up your manuscript with a pen or pencil, making notes in the margins, and underlining sections that need further revision. This process can help you identify patterns in your writing, such as the overuse of certain words or phrases, and make a note of areas where the pacing or structure could be improved.
Printing out your manuscript also allows you to physically move sections around, which can help you reorganize your story or adjust the pacing.
2. Read Your Work Out Loud
While reading silently can be helpful, reading out loud can give you a new perspective on your writing and help you identify issues that you may not have noticed otherwise. This way, you can identify sentences that sound awkward or don’t flow smoothly while reading.
As a writer, you may not notice it, but you will miss some words when writing in a flow. The practice of reading out loud will help you find those missing words in your manuscript so you can add them to avoid errors.
Plus, when you are reading out loud, you may be able to notice that the pacing may seem off in some places. You may notice that a sentence or paragraph is too long or that there is too much dialogue in one section. By doing this, you can go back to that part and edit it as you find suitable.
3. Focus on Line Editing
Line editing involves going through your work line by line and focusing on the details of your writing. This way, you can check that all sentences are clear and concise and cut out any unnecessary words or phrases that don't add to the meaning of the sentence.
When you are line editing your work, make sure to use strong verbs to add more meaning to your plot and dialogue. If you are not sure how to do this, you can always take help from a writing and editing tool like Grammarly. It will catch all types of errors in your sentences, starting from sentence structure and the usage of verbs.
You can refer to this Grammarly review to have a more detailed perspective on how Grammarly works on your computer to find errors in your sentence flow and help you correct those errors by giving valuable suggestions.
4. Use Beta Readers
Beta readers are people who read your work before it's published and provide feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. They can be anyone from professionals to your friends in the publishing industry who can read your book from a whole new perspective.
They will give you honest and constructive feedback on how to improve your writing. In that sense, it is advised not to use family and close friends who may not want to hurt your feelings by telling you about the plot holes and errors in your story.
After you have taken feedback from beta readers, it is advised to take a break before revising your work. This will help you approach the revisions with a fresh perspective.
5. Get Professional Editing Services
No matter how much effort you are putting into editing your manuscript, there is always someone who can edit your work better than you. Yes, we are talking about professional editors with years of experience in the publishing industry who know all the ins and outs of writing.
They are trained to identify and correct issues with grammar, punctuation, syntax, style, and more. An experienced editor will help you improve the overall quality of your writing and make it more engaging and polished by giving you valuable suggestions and editing your work independently.
However, before you hire an editor, make sure to get some samples of their previous work to ensure that their editing style and suggestions are a good fit for your book.
6. Address Plot Holes Effectively
For starters, a plot hole is a gap or inconsistency in the storyline that can confuse or frustrate readers. To address plot holes effectively, it is advised to read through your manuscript loudly and identify any plots or inconsistencies in your storyline.
Figure out why the plot hole exists. Is it a result of poor planning, lack of research, or a change in direction from your original point of view? Once you've identified the cause, brainstorm solutions to fill the plot hole. This may involve adding new scenes, tweaking existing scenes, or revising character motivations.
7. Proofread One Final Time
Now that you have done every possible thing to polish your manuscript and make it the best it can be, it’s time just to do the final overview of your work. Read through your manuscript slowly and carefully, paying close attention to every word and sentence.
Look for typos, missing or repeated words, and punctuation errors that are still there after doing thorough editing. In the best-case scenario, you won’t find any errors after you have done all that is mentioned above. However, if you do find some, make sure to address them right away.