How to Prepare Your Manuscript for an Editor

how-to-prepare-your-manuscript

You’ve written your book, and you’re ready to send it off to an editor. Congrats! You’re going to be in close contact with your editor, so I’ve put together some manuscript suggestions that’ll start your author-editor relationship off on a cozier level. Many of these changes can easily be made by your editor, but take it from me, receiving a manuscript in a reasonably readable order allows us to better focus on the big item—your story.

MAKE AN OUTLINE

Whether or not you use an outline during your writing process is totally up to you, of course, but it will be beneficial for your editor to at least have a simple outline or summary of your chapters. Referring to a handy outline is a great way for them (and you) to catch the huge, glaring errors in any storyline inconsistencies.

CREATE A CHARACTER DESCRIPTION SHEET

Even if you don’t actually plan on describing all of the physical traits of your characters, it’s important for your editor to know their major characteristics. If Donnie is a nerdy pocket-protector-wearing accountant in chapter two, then he’s a hunky construction worker in chapter seven, your editor might cry. But, if they can refer to a character description sheet, they’ll at least be able to determine where Donnie actually works.

BREAK IT UP

Unless you’re hiring a developmental editor (see below) who’ll be making a lot of changes for you, don’t make your editor guess where you want each chapter to end. Title the chapters. Number the chapters if you can’t think of a title. The titles, the cut-offs—they all might change later on, but the chapter breaks will give both you and your editor a better idea about the flow of your story.

MICROSOFT WORD. TIMES NEW ROMAN. 12 PT. BLACK. DOUBLE-SPACED.

Please, and thank you.

ONLY ONE SPACE AT THE END OF A SENTENCE

I know . . . I was also taught to put two spaces after the period, but times and rules change.

DON’T BREAK YOUR BACK OVER FORMATTING

It’s nice of you to add curly-swirly designs and fonts, but really, it’s unnecessary, and it will all likely disappear once we get our hands on it. Editors typically like working with a plain document. The fancy stuff will be added when the designer comes into play. But, do make sure your text is left-aligned.

KNOW WHO YOU NEED TO HIRE

Do you know the difference between a developmental editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader? Let me explain:

You need a Developmental Editor if you’ve written your story the best you can, but it’s a big mess. The storyline is twisted, and no matter what you do, you simply cannot get it to make sense. You need direction, your story needs marketing direction, and you’re willing to continue writing and be open-minded about making changes your editor might (will) suggest.

You need a Copy Editor if you know your manuscript is pretty darn good, but you need someone to check grammar, punctuation, word usage, clarity issues, possible factual inaccuracies, libel, etc. (Yeah, copy editors do a lot.) They are a fresh pair of eyes to polish your story and catch mistakes you’ve missed. Your copy editor will make sure that your main character—who has a fear of public speaking and has worked up to this moment for seven chapters—will give her first career-changing presentation at a “board” meeting . . . not at a “bored” meeting.

You need a Proofreader if a copy editor has already worked his/her magic, but you need to make sure these very important items have been thoroughly reviewed: page numbers are sequential and they match the table of contents, the font is consistent throughout the entire book, chapters all start on the right-hand page, photo captions are correct—all the bookish stuff. A proofreader should also check for last-minute typos or spelling errors.

We all want the most bang for our buck. You wouldn’t let your dog play in mud and sticker burrs right before his grooming appointment, right? You know it’ll take longer to groom him, which means you’ll be charged extra, and you might get dirty looks. Think of your precious manuscript as a dirty dog. Clean it up, brush out the knots, and make it look somewhat presentable before it gets fully groomed and ready for show.

Note: Most editors have their own stylistic preferences, and they might tell you what they are beforehand, but you really can’t go wrong by following these guidelines—they’ll make the entire process run just a little smoother.

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Do you have a story or manuscript that needs editing? Contact me! Let’s make magic happen. http://www.sarahfloreswriter.com/contact.html

How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever

new-year-new-you-purplePeople often ask me how I maintain a positive attitude, regardless of what happens to me in life. For the new year, I’d like to share ways I’ve become the way I am. By making these easy, small changes, you can also make 2016 your best year ever.

I’ll start by saying I didn’t have it easy growing up. Yes, I had a very loving family and good friends, but we didn’t have a lot of money. This meant a lack of food and clothing, and not being able to do things most kids were enjoying. (Family vacations, spring break trips, the coolest clothing, name brand cereals!)  I’d come to accept that as my life. But I couldn’t accept that as forever being my life.

  • I decided at one point to only accept good things, good people, good thoughts, and to do away with all the bad in my life. I made a mental list of the people who brought me down, the things that got me nowhere, and my actions or thoughts that didn’t help me develop positively. Then, I told them to take a big flying leap!
  • I stopped thinking about the lack of money in my life and only thought about gaining it and what I would do with it. (I guess I knew “The Secret” all along.) Once I did that, everything started falling into place. Everything I ever wanted started falling in my lap. Honestly, how could I ever turn back at that point? I couldn’t.
  • When I say I don’t hold grudges, I mean it. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who do, and it seems to be one of the biggest stresses they put on their lives. Most often, when you hold a grudge, the person you’re holding it against doesn’t even know it. You’re wasting your precious energy, your sleep, your happiness on someone else! You’re allowing them to win a game they aren’t even playing. Refuse to be a loser in your own one-man game!
  • I don’t worry about things. If there’s something going on in my life that doesn’t need my attention at that given moment, I simply don’t give it any attention. Ask yourself, is there anything I can do about it right this very second? If so, do it now and take care of it. I honestly love Nike’sJust Do It  Really, getting it over with as soon as possible is so much easier than dwelling on something for days or weeks and creating more and more fear and worry around it. If you can’t do anything about it right now, push it aside and address it when the time comes.
  • I don’t watch crap TV or movies. I despise the news and most reality shows like Housewives of Wherever, etc… They only make you angry or depressed, and don’t argue with me – it is true. Pay attention to how you feel before and after watching your local news or a bunch of trashy kids or adults fighting and constantly belittling each other. Is one hour of boob-tubin’ it to get the latest scoop on strangers really worth an entire day of the unbalanced emotional state you’ll probably find yourself in?

Wake up happy and only do things during the day that you know will sustain your happiness.

This is worth printing out as a daily read:

JUST FOR TODAY just-for-today

By Frank Crane

1. Just for today I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that, “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

2. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

3. Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

4. Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

5. Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways; I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I do not want to do, just for exercise.

6. Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

7. Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

8. Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurrying and indecision.

9. Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour all by myself and relax. In this half-hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective in my life.

10. Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

Happy New Year, Friends!

What changes will you be making this year?

Work on Your Writing Career, Even When You’re Not Writing

What’s that you say? You’re not writing? You should be working on your craft!

We should always be working on our writing careers, even when we’re not writing.  Read my guest post for The Working Writer’s Club to find some simple ways to do this:

student-group-study

 

 

 

5 Ways to Force Yourself to Write

Writing every day isn’t easy, but as they say, anything worth doing usually isn’t. We all have our go-to excuses: No time, too many distractions, even fear. Remember, though, there is value in every moment you sit down and put pen to paper, or keyboard to screen. The truth is, sometimes you will have to force yourself to write.

Here’s how:

how to force yourself to write

Guest post for http://www.workingwritersclub.com

5 Ways to Create a Motivational Writing Space

5 Ways to Create a Motivational Wri

Once a month, I write a motivational article at www.TheWorkingWritersClub.com owned by Suzanne Lieurance. She provides writers with invaluable tips and resources.

Last month, I wrote about 5 Ways to Create a Motivational Writing Space. Check it out!

As always, thanks for visiting, and remember, you can sign up to receive notifications when I post new articles or stories.

-Sarah

10 Tips to Get Your Girlfriend to Watch Football

nfl football fans cheer at television sport

I didn’t always love football. No, that’s not true. I’ve always loved the energy that surrounds football and football season, but I didn’t always have love for the actual game. The reason? I didn’t understand it, and no one was patient enough to teach me. Finally, I met my husband, and he did it right. I’m now dragging him out of the house to watch football. Let’s get your girl to the Red Zone with these 10 tips to get your girlfriend to watch football.

1) Let her know you actually want her to watch it with you. This is the most basic, but most important tip.

2) Be patient with her. If she repeatedly asks you questions about certain plays, or what some specific jargon means, explain it to her. It only takes a minute (not a football game kind of minute), and she’s one step closer to understanding the game.

3) Even if it’s just for a moment, pay attention to her during the game. Okay, during commercials. Okay, during commercials if said commercials aren’t during the Super Bowl.

4) Include her when you’re giving your buds a high five, but only give it 50% of your strength. Everyone likes a high five. Some of us just prefer one without the macho whelps and blisters.

5) Get her a sexy jersey to wear for your favorite sports team. You’ll definitely want her around when she’s wearing it.

6) If she wants to wear a pink jersey, let her.

7) This is something I’ve discovered, and maybe it’s sneaky, but you guys are always twisting or squeezing something during sports. (Hopefully not you-know-what – you aren’t five years old.) Instead of gripping on to the remote for dear life, put your hand on her shoulder or her leg. She might as well get a free massage while she can, whether you know you’re doing it or not.

8) Have you heard of NFL Survivor? It’s the NFL game with the simplest concept and a ridiculous amount of cash to be won. Ready? At the beginning of the season, pick one team to win each week. You must put in your decision for the week by Thursday. You can never pick that team again. Once you’ve chosen a team that loses, you’re out. If you let her get in on this, not only will she be rooting for teams she never would’ve before, so will you.

9) If she can’t keep her eyes off Jordan Cameron or JJ Watt, don’t hold it against her. You’ve got smokin’ cheerleaders to look at, and doesn’t she deserve a little eye candy too?

10) If all else fails, and she’s really just a bummer to have around during football games, don’t force her to be there. Give her some cash and tell her to go shopping. You’ve got a game to watch.

Do you have your own sneaky ways that have worked for you? Let me know. I’d love to hear about them!

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