Thursday, May 8, 2008

Book Review: Manuscript Makeover

What I am currently reading: Hell's Bottom, Colorado

Once the first draft of a manuscript is written there is a sigh of relief and accomplishment. But we all know, that the work is not over. It is now time to go back through and edit, clarify, cut and rework the story.

In her new book, Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore, Elizabeth Lyon helps to make the revision process easier. She covers everything from voice to plot to viewpoint. The tools, resources and techniques she provides help to make your manuscript the best it can be. Her conversational style makes the book easy to read and the way she weaves in her own experiences, along with those of other published authors, makes it clear she is a credible source for information.

The format of the book is unique in that you don't have to read it cover to cover in order to utilize her suggestions and tips. At the beginning of each of the 16 chapters is a small introductory section she calls "Options." Here she explains the content of the chapter and give you things to think about and lets you decide if you need to read this section or move on.

Here is the example from Character Dimension and Theme:
"If you worry that your characters lack dimensionality, and you aren't sure of your theme or how it connects to characters and plot, you're in the right chapter. If you want to create more personality, an edge to your characters, start here and read through part three. If you are seeking ideas for strengthening descriptions and character narrations, skip to chapter fourteen."

Lyon has created a book that is informative, functional and a great resource. It is set up so you can decide on an area of your book to focus on (character, plot, suspense) and then read the chapters relating to that topic before you revise. The check list at the end of each chapter is a helpful reference to use as you work on your manuscript.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone reworking a manuscript.

Happy Writing (and revising)


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