Public Critique & My Response: My Manuscript Opener

Mia Marlowe, Author

Mia Marlowe, Author

Touch of a Thief, due out Apr 26

I submitted the first 500 manuscript words for THE HIGHLAND PIONEER to Mia Marlowe’s blog Red Pencil Thursday.

She provides an instructive encouraging critique and comments from her viewers.  The result?  I dug deeper and improved the opening chapter.  The process of writing, critiquing , and revision of a good story followed by final editing so necessary to produce a quality  finished manuscript.  Finding areas in a manuscript that need improvement requires many pairs of eyes. My blog readers who write already know the drill.  Click  here to take a peek.

As a reward for taking part in beta testing for her new website, she gave me an advance copy of her novel TOUCH OF A THIEF,  due out April 26.   If you prefer a cozy novel without steam, this book might not be for you. I enjoyed her writing style and have matured with age, (I am smiling here) so didn’t get burned by the steam.  A good historical romance story.

Wishing you all that surge of creative energy that comes with spring. I can see blue sky here in the Pacific Northwest.  For those being teased by mother nature, I hope spring is just around the corner.

Extra Eyes a Boon to the Writing Process

A flower to dress up the post

Experienced writers armed with a worthy idea and educated in the craft of writing can create the framework for a good story in their first draft, but realize creating a great manuscript needs more than one mind and one pair of eyes.

In the recent flurry of digital publishing, the death knoll to a writer is flawed writing. The Big House Publishers provide many pairs of eyes guiding the writer to a publishable manuscript. The same level of scrutiny and assistance might not be available for digital publishing.  Writers planning to self publish or publish digitally can benefit  from critiques,  beta readers and experienced editors.

As writers, when we read our own work we miss things, nothing looks left out, wrong or unclear because the same brain that created the story fills in the blanks.  Our readers don’t get that kind of help.

Manuscripts need a thorough read by others to assist and advise the writer during the process of revision.  I learned rather late that revision and editing are not the same. Revision (not part of the first draft) includes some of the following:

  • Checking plots and subplots, World-building, Believability
  • Chapter, scene and paragraph structure, Point of view switches okay?
  • Tense, Clarity, Sequences
  • Goals, motivations, conflict, tension, dilemmas
  • Characterization and Emotional content
  • Story arc, character arcs
  • Hooks to keep the reader engaged
  • And so on …

Editing comes last, thus preventing the writer from wasting time editing passages changed or deleted during revision. Once the revisions are completed, the writer edits for style—such as varied sentence structure, stronger verbs, echoes (repeat words), tightening, fresh ways to describe, etc.  And hires an expert to do the line editing for typos, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Who knew in the beginning of a writing career the scope involved in publishing a good book? But what an stimulating and challenging journey.

Tune in Wednesday for a discussion on critiques.

May your writing muses dance—even during the revision process.

Writer’s Critique

Touch of a Thief

The Red Pencil Thursday is a feature of Mia Marlowe’s blog.  She critiques the first 500 pages of a manuscript every Thursday, the writer comments on the critique, and others comment as well. She critiqued The Labyrinth providing an instructive critique that leaves the writer’s voice intact, and offers encouragement.

Mia Marlowe’s latest novel Touch of a Thief is due out on April 26, 2011.

She recently launched a new website and it is worth a look.


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