Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cutting Unnecessary Parts of Manuscripts/Contest/Call for Submissions

This week, I’m continuing my discussion of how to cut unnecessary parts of manuscripts.

Look for prepositional phrases that aren’t needed. Example: Tears streaked down her face for what she’d done. “for what she’d done” isn’t needed. The reader will figure that out.

Avoid the tendency to double state an action, such as “He nodded his head.” “He nodded” is all that needs to be stated. The reader will know the action was with the head.

Does the writing move the plot forward, develop character, provide insight through dialog or narrative, or evoke emotional responses? If not, consider cutting it. Cutting a scene can be a painful experience, especially if we love the phrasing. Cutting doesn’t mean discarding. Simply file away the phrase or paragraph and save for later use. You may go back to it with another book. I once heard Mary Higgins Clark say she never throws away a piece of writing when she edits. She simply files it away for possible use in a future book.

The purpose of cutting is to sharpen the prose. Are the words necessary to tell the story? Cutting words isn’t about making a story shorter; it’s about tighter writing. Many writers cut a significant amount; then add more scenes to promote the action or develop the character. I recently heard one writer state, “cut words, add story.”

So whether you’re cutting or adding words, revise until your manuscript is polished and succinct.

Contest for Adult Writers
The Tenth Glass Woman Prize will be awarded for a work of short fiction or creative non-fiction (prose) written by a woman. Length: between 50 and 5,000 words. The top prize for the tenth Glass Woman Prize award is US $500 and possible (but not obligatory) online publication; there will also be one runner up prize of $100 and one runner up prize of $50, together with possible (but not obligatory) online publication. Subject is open, but must be of significance to women. The criterion is passion, excellence, and authenticity in the woman’s writing voice. Previously published work and simultaneous submissions are OK. Authors retain all copyright is retained by the author.”
Deadline: September 21, 2011

Call for Submissions for Young Writers
Boodle: By Kids For Kids. Formerly called Caboodle , this quarterly magazine is full of funny, pensive, imaginative stories, poetry and drawings from children. With more than 50 contributions per issue, there is room for the work of many ambitious young writers and artists.
Send manuscripts to P.O. Box 1049, Portland, IN 47371.

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