The only guide on the market for those months or years between your first draft and your last.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Robin Stratton is an author and writing coach in the Boston area.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
FINALLY, YOUR BOOK IS DONE! OR IS IT? Youíve gone over your manuscript again and again. A year or five have passed since you began, and frankly, youíre tired of looking at it. You have a synopsis and an outline, and a cover letter addressed to agents and publishers who claim to be looking for the type of book youíve written. Itís pretty much ready to go. But wait...
IS IT REALLY READY? Every 6.2 seconds someone in the United States decides to write a book. Okay, I made that up. But the point is, a lot of people think writing a book is easy. They think all they have to do is come up with a good idea, write it down, send it out, and decide what to wear at the Academy Awards, because their book was made into a movie too, and only a few months after it won a Pulitzer.
But every book that has earned a spot on a shelf in a store has gone through a vigorous revision process that your book hasnít. Unless youíre willing to subject your manuscript to the same harshly critical evaluation, you wonít be able to compete.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR BOOK Are you dissatisfied with any part of it? Is there a chapter youíre not crazy about, or a character who isnít well defined? Does your story get off to a slow start? Does the plot falter in some places? Does the ending feel contrived? Are some scenes boring, even to you?
Not sure? Pay attention to your reaction the next time a friend asks to read your book. Are you excited about showing it, or reluctant?
If you donít feel comfortable letting a friend read your book, why would you consider it ready to submit to an agent or a publisher?
MAYBE IT'S NOT READY Your novel is like your child. You only want to hear good things about it. You know that if you drop off a hungry, muddy, whining brat with a friend, youíre not going to return in a few hours to rave reviews.
Like your child, your book has to be cleaned up and lovingly disciplined to correct the bad habits that can be annoying to others and a source of embarrassment to you.
"THE END" IS JUST THE BEGINNING When an artist finishes a painting, itís done. When a ball player hits the winning home run in the bottom of the ninth, the game is over and the Red Sox have lost again. But when you type those magic words "The End," all it means is that youíve made it to the end of the first draft. Youíre only half done! Now itís time to refine your book. That means tightening, trimming, fleshing out scenes, and re-examining every single word.
BUT I CAN'T DO IT AGAIN! How do you go over your book again when youíre so sick of it you could scream?
You just do it. You have to. Writing a book is really hard. Thatís why most people donít do it. But youíre not "most people." You said you were going to write a book, and you did it. You wrote a book!
And now youíre going to write it again.
But this time youíre not alone. This time you have a guide to help you through the revision process.
HOW THIS BOOK IS DIFFERENT There are hundreds of books on the market about writing. Books I used to buy until I noticed an unnerving trend: most books about writing are written by writers who have only written books about writing! And while they provide decent, easy-to-follow suggestions for getting started, and then tell you what to do when itís time to approach an agent, they donít offer any direction for all those months or years between the first draft and the final draft.
This is not a book about writing. This is a book about writing better. Better than you thought you could. Pushing yourself to rewrite and refine the same chapters over and over until every single sentence performs.
WHAT THIS BOOK PROMISES As you master the techniques that help you recognize and fix problems, you will not only produce a better book, you will become a better writer.
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