Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

For the whole month of February, the Extra Squeeze Team will be Featured on A Slice of Orange. Check back each week for more writing advice.

Dear Extra Squeeze Team,

I did NanoWriMo and finished. The result—I have a 50,301 word hot mess of manuscript. What the heck do I do now?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

Edit. Seriously. Take what’s good, throw out what’s bad, rewrite, smooth out and polish. Viola, you have a book. I would love to have 50,000 words to work with. Good luck.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


Do you know what it is meant to become? Is it a series of chapters that form part of a longer book, or a novella? You’ll need to know what the finished product will be and who its audience is before you can begin to shape it. I don’t think there’s a set order to this next bit, but I would say that once you have an idea about final thing, you can start to make it more user-friendly.

Divide it up to make it edible for its future consumers (chapters with titles, paragraphs that don’t repeat the same stuff e.g.). Then start to look at which boxes you’ve ticked: character development, atmosphere, plot twists, no plot holes. Make sure the beginning has the right hook, and the end ties everything up (or doesn’t, if you like cliffhangers).

I’d correct grammar and spelling as I go with each re-read, making sure to change the page size each time (if you’re anything like me, you’ll be blind to certain errors unless the text gets moved around. Something weird and psychological, but it works).

The alternative is to count the 50k words as ‘notes’, and go on to re-write the whole thing in a more structured manner – the nuclear approach. It can produce better results, however.

Once you’re happy, find someone you trust to read through it and ask what they think. I am always surprised at the items that get identified, even when I believe I know my own book inside-out!

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

 

First, take a deep breath. Then sit your calm self down and read that hot mess from a more distanced perspective. Deconstruct. Outline the story. This hot mess came out of your imagination, your creative brain pan. Decide if there is something there to merit a lot more hard work.

What is the premise? Does it hold water? Is the opening compelling and does it carry forward and follow a logical plot? How is it plotted? Who are the characters and do they fill their necessary roles? Are these personalities you’ve peopled the story with interesting enough to carry the plot? Have you set the tale up with some inciting element strong enough to capture a reader in the first two pages and can that moment or situation move the story forward? Does the action rise and culminate and resolve in a natural dramatic arc?

Possibly… probably not. Yet.

There’s got to be some worth in all that effort. It may simply be that you’ve primed the pump and can toss this exercise and go on to a different tale energized by the fact that you know you can get words down on paper. (Sometimes that’s half the battle.) Or it may be that your efforts contain the seed of something that with the proper rewrite and revise, can be great. Only by analyzing it with as critical an eye as you’re able to achieve can you know what you can make of that mad NanoWriMo effort.

If you see the glaring errors of you ways, then get down to the rewrite. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect, get yourself an editor. Most editors, myself included, offer a read and review service for a reasonable fee. That overview from a fresh, professional eye, will help you see your way through trees to the forest. Or is that through the forest to the trees? Either way, you’ll come away with a direction that will help you move your written efforts forward.

Fifty K plus written words is awesome. You can make something of it, learn something from it, or just be pleased as punch that you achieved it.

I recommend you make something of it.

About The Extra Squeeze
About The Extra Squeeze
Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing. Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

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      The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we’re going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU.

    • The Extra Squeeze Book Club

      The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we’re going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU.

    • The Extra Squeeze Book Club

      The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we’re going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU.

    • Book Club

      The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we’re going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU.

    • The Extra Squeeze Book Club

      The Extra Squeeze Team loves book. So, we’re going to hold a book club on A Slice of Orange, and we want to hear from YOU.

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    Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing. Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.
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