At Destiny Rose Editorial Services we believe in helping our clients become more confident with their writing, to improve as we edit. These are great ways to improve your story before you submit it for our review.
(Deepen your story) In your opinion, does the story have enough drama, emotional tension, anticipation, and plot twists to keep readers interested throughout the entire manuscript? If not, dig a little deeper. Use your imagination. Get creative. Make it interesting. Tell a great story. Engage your reader. Sell more books.
(Get rid of “fluff”) Does each scene have a purpose that moves the story forward? This one is a big problem with editors. A great story reads “fast” with each sentence, every detail, and every scene having a purpose. Grab your reader’s attention and keep it. Make everything you say relevant to the story. (example: If later in the story no one eats cotton candy, don’t make that your character’s favorite treat.)
Filler Words- Sentence “fluff: Say what you mean as quickly as possible. Get the point across NOW. Get rid of unnecessary long descriptions, cut them into shorter, more distinct sentences. Get rid of overused ordinary words like: very, really, truly, just, and (often) that. Also, replace boring words with better ones: got, much, a lot, pretty, good, fine, so, stuff etc.—Bye bye boring. Once you start to recognize the lazy words in your writing and learn to write stronger, clearer, and sharper you will automatically raise your Author skills to a new level.
Is it free of obvious errors? Spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. Use spell check, look at noun, pronouns, and replace those modifying adverbs (ly words) with active verbs and adjectives. Get rid of exclamation points. Your writing should say she screamed, not with a !
(Clarity) Have you self-edited carefully to insure your sentences are clear and your paragraphs flow? Proofread. Then do it again. If in doubt, read it aloud to yourself. If the words stumble when you say them, it will stumble in your reader’s minds. Revise it to sound right.
Check your plot structure: The Beginning must move fast, and then a Primary Conflict should draw in the reader, with the Struggle to solve conflict keeping them hooked, and the quick Resolution for your happy-ending. Does the story arch feel realistic, work naturally and convincingly, happening in a series of interesting events that bring positive closure to your characters in the end? Don’t draw out the happy-ending. Know when to say “The End.”
Check your conflicts. Add some. One or two is never enough. Life isn’t perfect. The best books make readers worry and care. Small sub-plot conflicts can deepen the emotional tension, making readers hope for a positive outcome. ie: John is saving the world (primary conflict) but Sweet Sally needs a new car and Chef Ribeye desperately needs money to expand his steakhouse. (sub-plot conflicts) These will deepen your story and add interest.
Consistency: If Superman’s eyes are golden-brown, don’t later say they are cocoa-brown. Stick with your chosen descriptions throughout the book. Readers will absorb those details without having to form a new image in their minds. The same with ALL your other story details. If the table was red oak earlier, don’t make it mahogany later. Paint your scenes the same way throughout the entire book, unless it changes because of new storyline action.
Stay Creative and Happy Writing! Leslie D. Stuart, Executive Editor