Why You Might Want to Change That Repeated Word

I just finished a chapter-by-chapter repeated word search of my manuscript, and it was brutal. I started at the end of March and have been working on it diligently since then. That’s right–for six weeks! You may think that’s dedication, but I would never have had the patience for it if I hadn’t been participating…

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The Benefits of Weekly Chapter Swaps

First of all, there’s still time to enter my fifth blogiversary giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, so if you haven’t done so yet, check out my post here (ends at midnight 5/11)! While I’ve been blogging for five years, I’ve been writing for many more years. The beauty of this journey is that…

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Quick Tip: Check Frequently Used Words by Chapter

I’ve posted before about checking my manuscript for frequently used words (How I Tackle Revisions: Crutch Words; How Repeated Words Affect Your Voice). Some of these are crutch words–thought, just, really, very, etc.–and others are words that crop up in the course of an individual manuscript because of its focus. I usually do this after…

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Writing in Reverse: The First Draft Read-Through

When I finished drafting this manuscript in November, I said I intended to let it sit until after Thanksgiving. That plan changed drastically when I received an R&R (revise and resubmit) on another manuscript the same day I wrote that post. I think it came about an hour later. Talk about timing! I don’t know…

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What I’ve Learned in Five Years of Querying

I’ve become a huge fan of the memories that pop up on Facebook. It’s a fun way to look through old photos, videos, and the occasional comment. Anyway, on July 3, a writing-related post showed up that made me smile and shake my head at the naive Michelle of five years ago, but it’s appropriate…

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What Genre Is This Manuscript? Plus A Call for Readers

I’ve finally finished revising that manuscript that wouldn’t let me go (read more about that here or here), and it’s time to give it a new title and description here on the blog. One of my CPs was getting after me because even though I’d told her the new title, I was still calling it…

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New England SCBWI Conference: So Worth the Trip!

This past weekend I traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts, for the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Spring Conference. It wasn’t my first SCBWI Conference. I’ve attended the Missouri conference multiple years, and it’s been very valuable. However, the New England conference is significantly larger and offered the draw of my long-time critique…

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Quick Tip: Listen to Your Manuscript WITHOUT Reading Along

I’ve read my manuscripts out loud to myself before and expounded on the benefits of it. After a commenter on my last post about it suggested I have my computer read it to me instead of doing it myself, I even tried that. It’s amazing how listening to the robotic text-to-speech program on my Mac…

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How Repeated Words Affect Your Voice

As I have my manuscript out with another reader, it occurred to me that in addition to not doing a voice check since an earlier round of edits, I also hadn’t done a check for repeated words. Although my reader may give me some line edits–she doesn’t have to :)–that’s not the main focus at…

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Quick Tip: After A Major Revision, Do a POV Voice Check

When you’re writing multiple points of view, it’s important that those voices stay distinct. I’ve recommended before that you revise each POV individually early on in the process to ensure the characters have their own arc and voice (Revising One Character at a Time, 3 Tips for Revising One Character at a Time). It must…

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Quick Tip: Visualizing Your Feedback

One of the hardest decisions to make as you start receiving feedback on agent submissions is whether you should stop querying and revise. The tricky part of the equation is that the publishing business is subjective, and it’s challenging to sort through the comments you’ve received and determine whether they’re leaning toward “Yes, you definitely…

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An Update on The Manuscript That Wouldn’t Let Me Go

Nearly a year ago I wrote about the manuscript that wouldn’t let me go, and the post resonated with quite a few readers. This response didn’t surprise me as I knew it was a common phenomenon to love a particular story so much. Well, I have an update on that project. I finally finished redrafting…

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