Dee Ann: Jan, welcome.
Jan: Hi Dee Ann. Thanks for having me as your guest.
Dee Ann: Tell us a little about what it is you do.
Jan: Writing the visionary stories that live within takes strength of spirit. Honest writing is not for sissies. As CEO and Founder of About the Author Network, author of eleven books, and 93 daily journals, the writing process has been part of my life since 1972. I coach writers and promote their books on: www.AboutTheAuthorNetwork.com. My personal writing site is: www.JanMarquart.com where you can check out all my books and receive copies of my blog.
Today, I'd like to talk to writers about how to decide if their manuscript is ready.
Is Your Manuscript Ready?
Having been hired as an editor for emerging authors over the last two decades I can say that there are certain errors I repeatedly see. I’d like you to check over your manuscript in case these issues apply to what you have written.
1. The focus is fractured. This means that a book has two genres mixed up together. Example: a survival story has self-help tips mixed in with the author’s actual survival story. If your writing has vacillated between telling the story and giving advice, both sections will lose the reader’s focus. Ask yourself – do you want to tell your survival story or are you writing a survival manual? One focuses on you and the other on the reader.
2. Because some concepts are difficult to describe, a problem or experience is often written in language that doesn’t quite hit the mark. This happens when authors have experienced painful situations and can’t quite drop down to the true level of their suffering. Shallow writing will leave the reader frustrated.
3. Often manuscripts repeat the message of a book throughout chapters leaving the reader wondering where the book is heading. The message of the book should be a developed plot. This development is what keeps the reader on track as to why they are reading it in the first place. This problem usually occurs when authors are too impatient to slow down and develop their manuscripts.
There is often a good backstory to why these problems exist. Sometimes the writer is inexperienced in the craft of writing but even with that issue, an author can be inexperienced in craft but still give an accurate message. Readers will pick up if the theme of the book is cutting them short of the reward for reading. What is probably being exposed is that the author is fearful of slowing the process. This happens when the pain in the plot is something the writer wants to share but not deeply enough to re-enter their pain to do so. This choice will turn around to bite them quickly if a manuscript gets published without correction for these issues. Readers don’t like feeling cheated. If they are going to travel the journey with an author they want to be taken to the depths so they can enjoy the rewards of triumph.
When a manuscript is fractured the author has short-circuited it from one of healing to one of helping someone else. I’ve seen this many times. When language doesn’t quite hit the mark it could be that the author cannot think of the right word but words aren’t that complicated. Again, writers will often skirt the depth of pain because let’s face it, it is painful. But if the story is planned for publication readers will know that the author chickened out just when the meat of the story was about to fall into place.
Sometimes the meat of the story is avoided, especially in memoirs, because there is a fear that someone they love will be hurt and will respond by ending the relationship. This is a real life complication that often gets in the way of writing a fully developed and well-edited manuscript.
In my latest book, A Writer’s Wisdom, I address ten commonly asked questions by writers to help guide them not only to finish their writing projects, but to give them the understanding, patience, editing, and care that any work of art deserves. A book is a piece of creativity and it cannot be rushed, its meaning cannot be shortened or avoided, and the anger of loved ones cannot be allowed to control how the piece is written.
The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
- Excerpt from A Writer's Wisdom:
Readers read to understand the parts of life they don’t understand. They want writers to be their heroes and they trust them to reveal the wisdom they are too afraid to learn for themselves. Readers want proof that there is a way out of conflict, to find love, to become successful. They yearn to understand their own grief, sadness, and suffering. Fantasy is wonderful but even fantasy has to have a true emotional content. If characters of fantasy do not resemble the truth about life no one will believe them.
Readers not only want to hold hands with the writer when they jump into the deep end, readers also want writers to throw them a life raft. They want to hear how life really is and how they can be saved from it. They do not want to hear lies about what they are living and trust me, readers know when writers are lying.
Write a salvation story.
Find writers who have written what you love to read and stay close to them. Read everything they have written.
Then write for yourself.
p. 103 A Writer’s Wisdom
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is still a low $19.97 a month and the site has many pages for authors and their books. There is a link on the menu bar titled Audios that viewers can listen to if they want to hear interviews Jan has facilitated with authors along with other information on writing. Jan's personal writing site is: www.JanMarquart.com. On this site there are links to her books, blogs, and videos.
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Jan, again, thank you so much for stopping by and offering some great advice to our readers. It's been a pleasure having you.
And thanks to all my readers for sharing with us today. Got questions? Ask away! Don't forget to leave a comment. We love it when you do. :)
Until next time, I wish you all the best success in your writing.