Attend to these details of a manuscript to give it a professional look, feel, and sound.
Punctuation, spelling, grammar. You have only one opportunity to make a great first impression. Don’t destroy that opportunity with a rushed manuscript filled with simple mistakes. Keep these in mind when writing the cover or query letter, also.
Create fresh and appealing similes and metaphors and avoid cliches, worn-out phrases.
Use age appropriate comparsions that match the subject of the text.
Rhyming text. If you write in rhyme, be true to meter and beat. Chances of publication are greater if you write in prose, rather than rhyme, unless you have mastered the art of meter, which is totally foreign to me.
Is the main character active in carrying the plot forward? The main character should be responsible for solving the problem or reaching the goal. Uncle Hamm or an older brother should not step in and save the character that is experiencing the trouble.
Stay consistent with the point of view. If one character has been telling the story, that character should continue to do so. Only change point of view characters with new chapters.
Voice: Is the voice Distinct? Consistent? Appropriate?
Authenticity. Are the facts correct? I strongly suggest including facts when writing fiction to make the story realistic and believable.
Competing books. Are numerous books on this subject available in the marketplace? With manuscripts, the greater the competition, the harder the sell. You will not come up with a unique idea but you need to put a fresh spin on the story to make it different from other books.
As far as rules for critique groups, I recommend the sandwich method of pointing out something positive, followed by something that needs to be fixed, followed by something positive. Writers need to know what works with readers as well as what needs revision.
In my next post, I will discuss voice in greater detail.
Calls for Submissions
2011 Muse Romance Summer Stories
Once Upon A Ghostly Beach
Think summer. Think relaxation, heading on a summer vacation with no thought of a love affair. Now think of the perfect vacation spot/resort/inn/ right up until mixed up reservations saddle you with a roommate. Characters don't have to be the perfect couple. We want the odd couple and how they resolve their relationship. Place it in any era. Give us a twist ending. Give us memorable characters. Hook us into their situation. But, put in an element of paranormal.
Word count: 3,000 - 5,000
Release date: Summer 2011
Deadline: October 30, 2010
Details at http://museituppubl ishing.com/ musepub/index. php?option= com_content& view=article&id=5&Itemid= 2
Hopscotch, a children’s magazine seeks nonfiction, fiction, columns/departments, fillers, photos/artwork. Subjects: Of interest to girls from 6 to 13 years. Pays on publication.
Details at http://funforkidzmagazines.com/hs_guidelines