Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When You Know It's Time To Change Up Your Manuscript

You guys all know the deal. (And if you don't, trust me, YOU WILL.) You ask someone what they think about your manuscript, and they say, "It just needs a little bit...more." And then you think on it and realize, "Hey, it does need a bit more." A bit more spunk, emotion, suspence, character building, whatever. But then comes that pesky question: How do you get more? More words doesn't always equal more awesomeness. So what do you do? You've gone through the manuscript multiple times, pruned the unnecessary bits, accentuated the important stuff, added the appropriate visuals and actions to show not tell what's happening, but STILL it's missing something. (Yes, this is aggravating. No, eating a tub of ice cream and ripping your hair out will not do you any good.)

Here's what you do. If this happens, it is usually a character problem. Yes, I know--all of your characters are perfect, and individual, and special, and beautiful, and the story couldn't be what it is if they weren't the way they are, BUT bear with me. Adding more of a show to a dialog that's not working or a scene that doesn't make sense isn't helping anyone. Even if it's vivid and well written and fantastic--because, of course it is, you've written it--it's not helping your characters be all that they can be.

When you get to a scene that feels like it could use a bit more, think what else could/should the characters be doing/discussing here? If I took out this whole scene and just let the characters begin where they left off and do whatever the hell they wanted, what would they do? Then, select and delete the whole scene and start over doing just that. As daunting as it is, I assure you it will work. (And when you do this and it turns out fantastic and you get an agent who tells you every day how amazing you are for thinking if it, remember to mention me.)

I just did this with my manuscript and the differece is truly tangible. I feel like doing this has made my book finally go in the direction I've been trying to get it in for a couple of months now. I hope it will work the same for you.

<3 Gina Blechman

P.S. I've decided to minimize my posts until the end of the semester (May 9th). Between trying to get my manuscript ready to send out by April 25th and all of my final projects and such for school, there's really just not enough time. Therefore, I will be blogging Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. (Think TTFS: Totally Titillating, Fabulous Stuff) According to a lot of your comments on my previous post, this will work out better for many of you as well.


  1. I'm going to try...I have a scene like that and no matter how I tweak it, it's lacking. Great post!

  2. Great post Gina! It was nice talking with you last night as well. I wanted to say kudos to you for pulling back on the blog to focus on the revisions and school. Good luck with both, now I'll get back to reading. ;)

  3. I think reading through your "finished" (fnar) manuscript is one of the most satisfying -- but terrifying -- things you can do.

    You notice the "holes," where new scenes are required. You notice the over-indulgent dialogue that's doing nothing except show off how awesomely funny you are. And you pick up on the metaphors you never intended to weave in; these are where I start to stretch and elaborate (possibly because I write so much dialogue in my stories -- it's my "thing" -- that when I edit, I'm trying to edit it out!).

  4. Heh. Just submitted my latest. And even after reading it many times (over a long period of time) and having critique partners go over it with a fine toothed comb...I still found things to change. It's not perfect. But it is the best I can do AT THIS TIME. That's what counts.

  5. Glad you are having some success with the revisions, hope you found our chat helpful the other day!

    I believe that you still need to send me the next chapter batch?? i only have up to old chapter 30?

    That way i can keep reading tomorrow. I think you said you would send it, but actually didn't.

    Either that or i am going nuts!