advice, writing

The 5 Essentials for a Successful Manuscript

Are you working on writing a novel?  Maybe struggling to make your aspiring publications for that journal interesting and new?  Manuscripts can be difficult things to write, and when it comes to needing motivation, they can be a real drainer.

However, while writing a manuscript is challenging, there are several ways you help yourself stay motivating, focus on your writing, and accomplish your goals.  Keep reading to find out five key tips to writing a successful manuscript.

 

1. Write the first and last sentence of each chapter

Whether you’re writing a novel, a short story, or a nonfiction journal or piece, almost every work have chapters or sections of some sort (for short stories you can even use this technique for scene changes or pages).  Using these natural dividers, you can use this method to focus on your writing and to create a direct and specific goal.  Before you start writing each chapter, write the first and the last sentence of it.  While this may seem like a strange concept, knowing how you want to start and end can help your writing to stay on track, and will encourage your plot to advance in the way you would like it to.  If you are a very spontaneous writer and like to come up with your plot as you go, consider these sentences as goals, not restrictions (you can always change them later).

2. Outline

On a similar note to tip one, outlining your novel or writing can really help you to stay on track, and to map out a couple of goals you have.  For example, for a fiction novel, an outline can include a vague plot of what your intro, rising action, climax, resolution, etc.  Outlining your writing in this way can not only encourage you to stay on track with your plot, but it can allow you to add in creativity more easily because you know where you’re going.  For example, if you know from your outline that you want a specific event to happen, you can be more prepared to say, “hey let’s add in a character to make that happen,” or “here’s how I want to add in this plot twist.”  Outlines can also be useful tools for nonfiction pieces and short stories, as they will help you to organize your information into more concise and informative paragraphs.

3. Set aside time

I know this is the most basic writing tip ever, but honestly it is still important and crucial to say: set aside time each day to write.  While many people aspire to do this, sometimes schedules just get to busy that you find yourself having other priorities.  However, if finishing a manuscript is something that is important to you then you need to make it one of your priorities and actually set aside some times each day and do it.  Sitting down for as little as 45-60 minutes a day will improve your manuscript and will also allow you to feel as though you made progress each day.  This, in addition, helps you to keep you motivation high (something that is also crucial when trying to write a manuscript).

4. Question yourself

This one may sound weird, but just as I mentioned in my post, Writing Tip of The Day, questioning your writing each day and reminding yourself that you are not Stephen King is a good, daily reality check and will, in the long run, improve your writing.  Writing needs to have a purpose and a mission in order to truly succeed, and you need to incorporate this same concept into your manuscript.  If you lose track of why you are writing, you will suddenly begin to think that this manuscript isn’t worth it, and you will either quit writing, or will just end up writing a crappy manuscript.  Focus your goals, question them, and always keep your mission in the back of your mind.

5. Format first

A lot of people say that you can just write and then do all the formatting at the end. However, I personally recommend that you do all your formatting at the beginning because this gives you a better idea of how much you’ve written, what your eventual manuscript will look like, and how you will want to present it to a publisher.  Formatting in the beginning will also prevent any changes or formatting errors to your writing later on.

 

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24 thoughts on “The 5 Essentials for a Successful Manuscript”

  1. Thank you so much for this information Emily! You are absolutely amazing and give your followers great advice! I love what you share and it is extremely helpful!!! I might have told you already that I have a goal to write a book, someday! I have my outline prepared, I just need to set the time for the rest of the process. I am so glad that I have found your blog as it is really helping me SO much!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I created my first outline for my first novel ever. First time writer here. Oh wow, this is easy and hard at the same time. I’m determined to stick with it though. Any tips on somewhere to go for formatting ideas? Honestly as a first time writer this is not something I gave much thought to yet, but sounds as if it deserves some attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would suggest looking at publisher’s criteria and requirements for formatting. The majority of them want the same thing, but some will be more specific. I would also recommend being consistent with your formatting and with program you use. Microsoft word is fairly universal, but their manuscript template may not suffice all requirements. All in all, formatting can be pretty generic once you understand the basics.

      Like

  3. I love your blog so much! It’s so informational and I’m always learning something new. Writing the first and last sentence is something I’ve never even heard of before but I can see what a great suggestion that is! Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An excellent post once again Emily, and one that l shall bookmark to my bar as inspiration -l am in the starting process of writing two books, one for my dog and my own auto, but l have so much work on at present writing wise, just getting to the starting points again is proving all consuming.

    Again thank you, now, l am sure l asked before, but my short term memory is hopeless of late, would you consider taking part in the Truly Inspired series l run?

    If so, let me know and l will email you the questionnaire 🙂

    https://aguycalledbloke.blog/2017/12/29/truly-inspired-series/

    Rory

    Liked by 1 person

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