What a great question! Now what is something that we are asked often.
Chances are that, despite the hours of toil put in, you’ve become almost too close to your own work. You know your characters so well that you may be unable to see that your main character has a glaring flaw. That your themes aren’t coming through as clearly as you, who knows them intimately, thinks. Maybe there’s even a major plot point that isn’t resolved. It’s easy to miss these things when we have gone over and over our own work. Step number one? Put that manuscript in a drawer and walk away! Give yourself some time to write something new, and come back to the work refreshed some weeks (or yes, even months) later.
When you are ready to reread, do so with a fresh mind. Is there anything that stands out as wrong? As not successful? Rework accordingly. Then you’re ready for step number two: reader testing. Don’t just ask for feedback from friends and family who are often biased and inclined to love you and your writing; instead, seek out people unfamiliar with the work and ask them for feedback. Brace yourself – it can be both illuminating and heartbreaking – but it is an invaluable exercise. Make notes and redraft where required.
Now, step number three: get down to crafting your synopsis. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we dive into the basics of synopsis writing!) How will you pitch your book confidently to people unfamiliar with it? What is the age group you are targeting? What are the key things a reader should take away from your book? Keep it short and succinct to begin with – getting clear yourself is an important step.
Once you’re confident, consider getting professional feedback. An editor can help you to see your story in a completely new light, they can help you to improve your storytelling skills, and target the right age group. Step number four – work with a freelance editor – this is of course optional, but we both love helping writers make the most of their writing!