Manuscript Tune-up

Here’s a dictionary definition for “tune-up:” “a general adjustment to ensure operation at peak efficiency.” Sounds just about right as a description of the next phase of work I face in revising my YA novel. In the past few weeks, I’ve received some feedback from the publishing marketplace about my story — some of it very general and some of it specific enough to be helpful.

I’ve had some time away from my draft and now it’s clear that I need to revisit it and make some adjustments “to ensure operation at peak efficiency.” I’ve been letting a few promising ideas percolate and now it’s time to see if I can actually integrate them into my story seamlessly.

At one point, I would have seen this as major surgery and gotten angsty about the next pass I have to make through my pages. But at this stage, I’m taking a more workman-like approach and thinking of what I need to do as giving my manuscript a “tune-up.”

I like this metaphor a lot. It sounds manageable and self-contained. It calls up images of tools and fine-tuning: It makes me think of the task ahead as a form of tinkering. It sounds necessary, but not drastic or radical. It also gives me the feeling of being an experienced craftsman — someone with the skills required to get the job done with a minimum of muss and fuss. And finally, it reminds me that I’m not dealing in a heavy-handed way with the meaning of my novel, but working on the mechanics — on how I
drive the story forward.

Revising is never easy — especially when you’ve been through several rounds. But how you think about it and capture it in words can make a big difference. Let’s pay attention to how we talk to ourselves about the writing challenges we take on. After all, we’re wordsmiths: may the words we use always be wise and well chosen. Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply