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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year’s Resolution for 2010: Make That Manuscript Irresistible!

The 10-Step Website Tour for a Magnificent Manuscript Makeover

By Martha Engber

Martha, author of The Wind Thief and Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up, will teach The Art of Rewriting, a six-lesson course, from Feb. 1 - 15

You’ve just finished writing your story, which is not just okay, good or even very good. Rather, your tale is a scintillating gem of eye-popping proportions!

Now you’re dying to start the submission process.

But because it’s a new year — the year you get published — take the last step that will ensure your story flies off the slush pile and into the hands of an agent or editor:

Put your manuscript through the wringer one more time! You have nothing to lose but time doing what you love and everything to gain.

Recheck the story (yes, again!)

1. Scenes

The Five Ingredients of the Scene by writing coach Emily Hanlon

2. Plot

Plot Whisperer is the website of plot maestro Martha Alderson

3. Characters

Growing Great Writers From the Ground Up is my Q & A blog, through which I answer your questions regarding character development and writing in general.

4. Suspense

How to Create Suspense in a Story is an eHow article by Patricia Gilliam

5. Sex

How to Write a Great Sex Scene is a Suite101.com article by Nina Munteanu

Gather That Last Round of Feedback

6. Critique

EditRed.com allows you to upload your writing for peer review

7. Free Contests

FanStory.com has loads of free contests that will let you know if your writing is as eye-catching as you believe

Format for Submission

8. Proper manuscript format

Novel Format

Short Story Format

Poetry Format

Screenplay Format

(While you can format your screenplay for free, screenplay software like Final Draft and Movie Magic are easy to use and buy credibility in the movie industry.)

The Final Shine

9. Check your spelling (because a computer’s spell checker doesn’t catch most errors)

Merriam-Webster is the online version of the famous dictionary and thesaurus

10 Most Common Grammar Errors and How to Avoid Them is posted on Cengage Learning, an online writing center

The Final Destination

10. Don’t send your work of art to a bozo!

Predators and Editors is an excellent website that tells writers which agents and publishers are okay, and which are not.

Didn’t find the website you want? Try this one:

The Writer’s Resource Directory

Happy writing!

Martha Engber is the author of the literary novel, THE WIND THIEF (a great book club pick) and  GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP: A THOROUGH PRIMER FOR WRITERS OF FICTION AND NONFICTION. A journalist by  profession, she’s interviewed former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell, actress Marlo Thomas and other celebrities. A workshop facilitator, lecturer and book editor, she’s had a full-length play produced in Hollywood. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Watchword, Iconoclast, Bookpress, the Berkeley Fiction Review and other literary journals. She maintains Growing Great Writers From the Ground Up, a site for writers. Martha lives with her family in Northern California.


La-Tessa said...

great article, thanks for sharing these tips

Danica Avet said...

This is wonderful information! I'm going to be bookmarking these sites. Thank you!

Barb H said...

Terrific list of great sites. Like Danica, I'm keeping these for future reference!!


Kingdom Expansion said...

Very nice site filled with lots of great information, tips and ideas.
Author Media Blogs & Book Marketing

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great resource this post is. The links are so helpful as is the advice.


Dawn Chartier said...

Thanks so much for the great info.

Dawn Chartier

Lisa Haselton said...

What everyone else has said. :)

Great list of resources. Thank you for sharing.

KathyW said...

Thanks! Great info.

Plot Whisperer said...

Great article, Martha!
Thank you so much for including Plot Whisperer. What a thrill to be in such an esteemed line-up.
Terrific resources.
Great, reader-friendly format.
Excellent all the way around.
Warmest regards,