Many people come to me with manuscript in hand and a woefully crumpled forehead.  Iíve written all these words, they say. And I have no idea if itís any good or not. I just donít know what to look for.

Two things are happening here:

1. Chances are you are so close to your writing you are embedded in it.

To assess your work you need to extricate yourself, abandon emotion and attempt to see it in perspective.

  2. You need to know what the editor wants. How does she decide if it is any good? What criteria does she use to assess your manuscript?

Conversely, what does she not want to see? What causes a manuscript to be rejected?  Apart, that is, from the obvious reasons:  shoddy craftsmanship, an unbelievable story, characters that canít swim to the nearest lifeboatÖin other words, poor imagining and writing.

In my workshop you will learn to assess your manuscript by asking the questions that editors ask:
  • Does the beginning reach out and snare the reader?
     
  • Does your main character have a strong desire and a well-developed story arc?
     
  • Does the structure provide maximum tension?
     
  • Is the emotion moving and honest, or will your reader cringe?
 
  • What about themes? Do they resonate and add depth to your story?
     
  • Does it end in a way that has an element of surprise while at the same time seeming inevitable?
     
  • Will your narrative voice convince the reader that the journey will be worth the cost of your book?
As well, we will laugh at the blunders that turn a normally sane and reasonable editor into a werewolf.
Who will benefit from this workshop?
Any writer who has finished or nearly finished the first, second or 10th draft of their Mss. and is daring to wonder is it any good?

Any writer who intends to self-publish. Since you are the sole arbiter of the quality of your work it is particularly important that you dare to ask yourself the hard questions. Your reputation is on the line.  

And a thought: nature has spent eons perfecting the lotus bloomÖ

 I have used the lotus image because Iíd like you to consider how writers want to create something perfect (which is impossible) and often do not have the yardsticks to measure how to travel toward perfection. 

 

 
 

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