How to Spit Shine a Manuscript, by Michelle Griep

For the last few months I’ve been working an Kelly’s memoir, and the scenes are coming together nicely, but soon it will be time for me to edit the book. So when Michelle asked if she could guest post today about how to spit shine a manuscript I was ready! I hope her tips help you and please check out her $2.99 book, WRITER off the LEASH, Growing in the Writing Craft. You will find that Michelle is not only an awesome writer, she has a great sense of humor too! Please welcome, Michelle Griep.

How to Spit Shine a Manuscript

Guest post by Michelle Griep

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So, you did it. You delivered a two-and-a-half pound baby manuscript. You think it’s adorable, that no one has ever set eyes on such a masterpiece of perfection, but just when you’re itching to show off that infant to the publishing world, here’s a note of caution . . .

Not everyone thinks wrinkly, mucous-behind-the-ears, squalling newborns are cute. Usually you need to wait a week or two until they fill out a bit, aren’t so red in the face, and even learn to smile before others are irresistibly drawn to them.

It’s the same with your manuscript. But never fear. Here are some surefire ways to spiff up that baby while you’re waiting. 

Top Three Ways to Polish A Manuscript

1. Send it off to two or three of your best editor buddies.

You don’t want overkill in this stage, so three is the maximum number of eyeball sets you want critiquing your final copy. While they’re busy editing, work on something else. Put your mind elsewhere. Start a new story or fiddle around with one you’ve got in the drawer. Anything but go over your recently finished book.

2. Apply critiques.

Once you get those crits back, then—and only then—may you open up your document and start implementing the final changes. Consider each one, even if you don’t agree with it. And if more than one person comments on the same thing, it’s a pretty good bet your reader would stumble over that pile of words as well. Change it.

3. Print it out.

I know. I know. This final step makes greenies go into convulsions. It seems like such a waste to use up all that ink and paper on something you can just read on a screen. It’s not. Reading a hard copy is inherently different from reading something on a computer. Why? I think it has something to do with how the planets align and magical fairy dust or something scientific like that. Whatever. It works. You’ll catch things that you (and your crit partners) missed. Not even kidding. This works every time.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? Yep. It is. But fact: it is super satisfying to hear editors comment that yours is the cleanest manuscript they’ve seen in a long time.

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Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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