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Monday, January 10, 2011

So You're a Good Author and Did Your Research...

Your Research: Like Marriage, For Better or Worse
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I'm doing some editing for a client right now. She has written a beautiful manuscript. That is, it is beautiful where I can get at the story. This writer has done what many writers do. They fall in love with their research. They want to include every precious nugget they find as they are researching their topic.
When that happens the story gets lost, the forward movement of the story stalls. The novel becomes a nonfiction text. The language often moves into the passive tense, meaning active verbs disappear. The characters get lost in the researched detail, too.
Obviously, details can add texture to fiction. Obviously, they should be authentic to bring credibility to the piece. But they need to be integrated and shouldn't overpower the work. They also shouldn't smack of intrusion by the author. They shouldn't become a lecture, as it were. Or a history text.
Before you turn your manuscript over to an agent or publisher, check it. Get a reader to look at it specifically to let you know when you went off on a tangent and told them way more than they wanted to know.
For a recent article on researching by Stephen Tremp, go to Diane Wolf's blog,

http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/researching-with-stephen-tremp.html

As long as you're perfecting your manuscript, why not go back to earlier posts on this blog. Then reread your manuscript.

Also try Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for a fun brushup on homonyms and other wordtrippers.

And, of course, to make the job easier, The Frugal Editor will be a good desk companion. It will even help you use Word to make the job easier. You know you want to know and easy way to rid your manuscript of all those double spaces between sentences.






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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at. Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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