10 June 2011

Toni talks about submissions today

Wait. Wait. Don't Submit.

Not yet, anyway. You have a few more things to do before you drop your manuscript in the mail or attach it to an email to a publisher.

You do want to submit a clean manuscript to an editor, don't you? A manuscript free of typos and mistakes?

Then slow down. Even the most careful writer's eyes play tricks. Give your manuscript another look.

Authors see what we think we wrote instead of what is really on the page. A Beta reader is priceless In these days of less editorial help and more dependence on the author to get it right. Pay him or her well. If a friend is your reader, send candy. Often.

What has a Beta reader done for me?

• Caught the time I gave the heroine three hands.

• Caught repetitive phrases.

• Caught the hero about to walk through a locked door.

• Caught when my heroine's eye color changed from blue to brown.

• Caught the heroine hiding behind the sofa where I'd carelessly left her.

Okay, perhaps you're a more experienced writer and would never do any of these things. Ever typed its when you meant it is? Ever get confused about whether you want to type pen and pin? Can't remember whether to type sit, sat, or set? Every author has words they stumble over. Some of mine are lose or loose? Aught or ought? Further or farther? There or their? Then or than?

Seems then or than is a tough choice for some authors. While recently judging contest submissions I continually encountered the incorrect use of then and than. Use than when making a comparison. Example: This looks more like a burn than a bruise.

Never use then when comparing things. Another example: I'd rather go than stay.

The copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White I keep by my computer reads, "Here logic supports established usage: one thing differs from another."

Do not use than to make comparisons, even though other writers seemed determined to do so. They are wrong. Here's a common mistake: Using different than when the writer should have used different from.

Someone not emotionally involved with your manuscript is more likely to catch the use of the wrong word. I recently saw where the writer wrote patients instead of patience, completely changing the meaning of the sentence.

Your fingers do not always type what you intended for them to type. My mother always insisted two heads were better than on. Where your writing is concerned, several pairs of eyes do the most good. Have a critique partner go through your entire manuscript looking for word choices, missing quotes and typos. Ask a third person to do the same thing. You of course were the first person, and you will also be the last, for on your shoulders falls the ultimate responsibility of seeing that you got everything right.

A Beta reader soon learns if you're prone to type our instead of out, and should point out where you've used the wrong verb tense and are guilty of point of view shifts. It's so easy to slip into someone else's head and so hard to spot those slips. A trusted reader should question the use of any word she doesn't understand. Make it her job.

Never ever rush a manuscript to print. Writers get careless, especially through the second half of the book. If you're pushed for time, edit the second half of your novel first. You'll be glad you did.

Now that Desert Breeze Publishing has released Law Breakers and Love Makers, and Temp to Permanent, another romantic suspense, will be released on June 1, I'm hard at work editing my next release, Decisive Moments, a dark romance due out in time for Halloween.

Here's a link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-113/Toni-Noel-Law-Breakers/Detail.bok

And a link to Law Breakers and Love Makers' five hearts review:

Congratulations on the 'fab' review :-0


R. Ann Siracusa said...

Toni, Very good advice that all of us can use no matter how experienced. In fact (and I hate to point this out) I picked up a typo at the end of your article. See? It can happen to anyone, and I know you are meticulous about editing.

Karen Ritter said...

Toni, you are so write, I mean right. LOL. I do write the wrong words all the time. Now I see it is a common problem, thanks to you. Thank you for pointing that out.

Toni Noel said...

Hi, Karen and thanks for stopping by.

I forgot to mention watch for typos.

I ordered 300 pens to giveaway at RT, and I had spelled my name wrong. I didn't even notice. My editor pointed it out.