Jo Michaels – 5 Tips For Producing A Better Manuscript

ID-100162352Hey there! Before we get going, I’d like to thank Lifestyle and Literature for having me. It’s such an honor to be here.

I bet you read the title of this post and thought: I’d love to produce a better manuscript the first time around! Well, the truth is, you probably won’t. But this will give you a peek at the first five things to check for when you do revisions. After a while, you’ll be a pro at finding your own mistakes.

First, let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Jo Michaels. I’m the author of several award-winning novels, a book designer who’s been setting trends since the day I started, and an EIC at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I’ve been editing awesome books since 2012, and my company has grown by leaps and bounds since. Our clients include a number of Indie best-sellers, and if you see our name on the copyright page of a book, you’ll know you’re getting a quality read. So, there’s my list of qualifications! I hope it’s enough to convince you I know what I’m talking about.

Ready? Here we go!

  • Tip 1: Use contractions. Not only does it help the flow of your story, it’s how we humans speak. We’re not robots. Shorten. Sweeten. Lighten.
  • Tip 2: When you start talking about a new character, start a new paragraph, and if you’re dealing with dialogue, only name one character. Yes, it’s really that simple.
  • Tip 3: An ellipsis is used to indicate a character’s speech trailing off. It’s not for pauses or jumps in thought, and it’s not a placeholder. Use ellipsis sparingly.
  • Tip 4: Avoid the words “begin” and “began.” Go right into the action. Rather than: Our Princess began to fan her face with a handkerchief. Go with: Our Princess fanned her face with a handkerchief. You’ll thank me one day.
  • Tip 5: If you’re in the USA: Single quote marks ONLY (I mean EVER) go inside double quote marks. Also, your punctuation always goes inside the quote marks. Things are a little different in the UK. Keep that in mind when searching for answers regarding punctuation online.

I hope this helps you kick butt in your self-editing/rewrite phase. If you ever have a quick question about anything manuscript related, feel free to find me on Facebook and ask. On the other hand, if you’re dying to do more of your editing yourself, check out my blog—where you’ll find my Type-A personality on full display with an organized list of posts to help you.

Any quick questions may be asked in the comments. I’ll pop in and throw some answers your way as often as I can.

Find me on social media!


Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!




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