Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and today I’m talking about Spring Cleaning! There’s nothing quite like a little change in the weather to motivate me to clean around the house. But it doesn’t stop with the house. Why not take this wonderful time to spring clean your current manuscript?
Here are 5 ways to Spring Clean your Manuscript…
1) The darlings
must be killed. Yes, I know they are special to you, but that’s where
it stops. Those jokes that seem so funny in your mind might actually not
be very funny to anyone else. So identify as many darlings are you can,
call them out for what they are, and destroy them.
2) The cliches
every single one. The road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions.
It’s paved with cliches. The time for cliched writing is gone with the
wind. So if your kid comes home and mentions a great cliche they learned
in class today and you have that cliche in your manuscript, take that
as a sign from the universe and give it the ax.
3) The title
you sure your title works? Is this perhaps the perfect time to take a
look at it and really consider if it is going to capture the attention
your wonderful darling-free and cliche-free manuscript deserves? Did
another book just come out with the same title? Take a step back and at
least consider some other options. You may surprise yourself with what
you come up with.
4) The adverbs
these are the words we all love that end in “ly.” Cut. Them. All. And
then, only if you desperately feel like you need one badly, put it back
in sparingly. They don’t have a place. And I’m talking about after
dialogue tags, too. People may say things gruffly, but I don’t want to
be told that. I want to be shown that.
5) The backstory
you care about what happened to your characters before. You’ve mapped
out their lives. Their parents have jobs. Their siblings have best
friends. You know all the places they frequent. But that doesn’t mean
your reader needs to know or will care one hoot about any of this stuff.
Drop us in the action and then dribble in ONLY THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Happy Spring! And Happy Writing and Revising!
P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book,
SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book,
TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE
FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her
and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.