I have just begun working through Don McNair’s book Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave.
Now, there are 21 steps I’m more than willing to take. In fact, it got me back to the novel I began writing in 2007. (Who knows? Maybe this time I’ll push through and finish it.)
Chapters include “Your manuscript is a Christmas Tree,” “Don’t discuss sows’ ears with silken words,” and “Watch for foggy phrases.”
McNair covers the expected topics: hooking your reader, point of view, and how to avoid being too wordy – among many others.
He also includes chapters on writing query letters and synopses.
I love that each chapter includes “Your Assignment.” Hammering out a solid first chapter will make it much easier to craft each subsequent chapter.
So far, I’ve found the book easy to understand yet rich in practical information. Editor-Proof . . . is a writing course in approximately 200 pages.
I, for one, don’t want a first reader at some publishing house to toss my manuscript in the reject pile because of something she sees in the first paragraph – or the last, for that matter.
McNair was approached by an unpublished author who was wondering why her manuscripts were being rejected time and again. “This lady was basically a good writer. Her blogs sparkled, she dreamed up creative plots, and her heart was certainly in her work.” If all that was true of this author, is there hope for us?
Apparently, “she’d made a major craft mistake in that chapter and, presumably, in all twelve of [her other manuscripts]. It was a mistake that almost guaranteed she’d never be published.” Eek!
Well, they discussed the problem, she got it, and has “now been published many times.”
If McNair’s advice can help this author, it may just help us as well. So, if you have at least one chapter of your novel written and are willing to do some serious editing, grab a copy of Editor-Proof Your Writing . . . and get to work.
What are some of your favourite books on the craft of writing?