Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and I'm back to talk about spring cleaning once again. If you missed it a couple weeks ago, I decided spring was the perfect opportunity to spring clean your manuscript. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Otherwise, it's on to Part 2, in which I dig a little bit deeper!
Here are 5 more ways to Spring Clean your Manuscript…
1) The beats
beats in a manuscript are great. Some are kind of in the middle. And
then some...they are pretty much worthless.If you're like me, you throw
these needless beats into the story without even thinking about them.
You revise without ever noticing them. And you know what? They are so
inconsequential, we are blind to them. "He laughed." "She turned." "He smiled." I know what you're thinking. But my characters are really doing these things. It doesn't matter. The reader doesn't need to be told. They will figure it out.
2) The names
with a title change, sometimes characters need a fresh, new start. When
you started your story, you probably named your characters for really
deep meanings. Do these meanings still matter? Does a clunking or
confusing character name make the story harder to follow? Do you have
too many clever nicknames for people? Basics are good when it comes to
names. So go through and re-think them. See if naming your supporting
character something new will spark a nice new perspective.
3) The tags
time someone speaks, they do not need a dialogue tag. Sure, some are
very nice to help the reader follow along. After all, the reader doesn't
know your characters as well as you do. But every single piece of
dialogue does not need a "he said" or a "she said." Once you pare down
your tags, simplify them. Characters say things. They don't have to
grumble them or exclaim them or even snap them. Said is the least
intrusive and generally the safest way to go.
4) The doubt
on who your main character is, consider how much doubt would be in
their point of view. When you character has dialogue or internal
monologue, how would they phrase it? "I think we should go to the park" or "We should go to the park." How confident is your main character and how much do they take action?
5) The stereotypes
is no room for characters that fit the mold. Help your characters step
out and be different than their stereotypical counterparts. Remove your
bitchy cheerleaders and your dumb jocks. Craft your nerds to be more
than glasses-wearing kids who carry around too many books. Sure, some
traits belong with certain types of people. But that doesn't mean the
characters have to be stereotypes. They can be whoever they want to be.
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.