More Writing Tips

Here are a few more tips I've passed on to contestants about their manuscripts.

Though it seems most authors should know the best ways for formatting a manuscript, not all do.

Time New Roman 12 point (not bold) is what most publishers want. (You should always check the guidelines.)

Double space.

Indent for paragraphs, no space between paragraphs.

Always a ragged right hand margin.

When writing dialogue, it needs to sound realistic—but not as we actually say it. Leave out all the "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine. What's new?" 

Dialogue needs to move the plot along and reveal character. 

Leave out fancy dialogue tags like responded and adverbs to describe it. The dialogue should do that for itself. Either just use said and asked, or better, use the character’s action. 

Be careful of talking heads—when people are talking, even during interviews—they move, scratch their heads, look off into space, adjust their position in their chair, etc.

Whoever the main character is in a scene, that’s who the narrative is coming from—that is his or her point-of-view.

Rewriting and careful editing should catch a lot—get rid of unnecessary dialogue. 

No matter how much you've gone over your manuscript, it still needs editing.

Today, most publishing houses expect you to have a well-edited manuscript before you send it to them.

If something I've written is not clear, leave me a comment and I'll write more about the subject.



Amen! The most important thing when submitting to a publisher is to follow their guidelines to the letter. Make sure you have a well-edited manuscript, and don't depend on your own editing, even if you're a professional. (I am, and I need other eyes on my work before it's published.)
Excellent advice, Marilyn!!

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