How to step up any manuscript a notch:
- On the first draft, write loose, free flowing, and sloppy. Flush out random thoughts. Flood the blank pages with words, words, words.
- Pen a one-sentence focused theme of what you think you’re trying to say. Eliminate every detour and divergence.
- Jot down bunches of working titles, then choose the zippiest one.
- Find your best line; make that the opener.
- Circle every passive verb (is, was, were, etc.) and attempt to re-write the whole sentence with an active verb form.
- Underline each lazy, unnecessary adverb and participle. Rewrite a dynamite sentence without it.
- Chop off end-of-sentence prepositions. Rewrite into a smooth, natural sounding, logical presentation.
- Read your manuscript aloud to discover off-rhythm or repetitious words and phrases.
- Get a rude friend to read your project. Ask that person to circle over-used words, clichés, pet phrases, or ones that peeve them.
- Insert or substitute a doozy of an anecdote — if possible, an original story from your experience, imagination, or watching someone else endure gritty or funny stuff — that nails the theme. Eliminate internet homilies that have already done double duty on everybody’s forewords.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr
- Sally Stuart’s Guide to Getting Published by Sally E. Stuart
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White
- The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer
- Words on Target by Sue Nichols
- Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
- Better Vocabulary in 30 Minutes a Day by Edie Schwager