- File Size: 286 KB
- Print Length: 176 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: C-Side Media (July 14, 2015)
- Publication Date: July 14, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B010RJOAYA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,268 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Well-Presented Manuscript: Just What You Need to Know to Make Your Fiction Look Professional Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Something I found helpful was that, as a non-American, he explained some of the punctuation rules in a way that was phrased differently than we do here. Though the rule is the same, his wording seemed to shed a different light on the rule. This made me think enough about the rule to get a better handle on how the rule works. And where British Commonwealth grammar rules differed from American English rules, he was careful to point them out.
Very pleased and I highly recommend the book to anyone trying to clean up their writing style.
And please, don’t for a minute think that there isn’t a minimum standard, because there is. Everyone is willing to forgive the occasional typo. Nobody is willing to forgive an endless torrent of misspelled words and misplaced punctuation.
Mike Reeves-McMillan has been self-publishing for a few years now—sidebar, if you like fantasy that’s a little different than pretty much everything, check out his Gryphon Clerks series—and earlier in life he worked as an editor at a major publisher in New Zealand.
He knows what he’s talking about, and while there are a lot of people who will tell you that your manuscript needs to be spelled and formatted properly, I haven’t seen any other books that will go into detail about what this means in a practical sense.
Mike’s a practical guy. The point of this book is not to help you write a better book. The point of this book is not to help you sell books. The point of this book is not to improve your writing craft. The point of this book is to ensure that you have the tools available to make your manuscript look professional.
Because, really, let’s face it, if you present an unprofessional looking manuscript to an editor, there’s a decent chance they don’t even read the first sentence. And if your first sentence contains the kind of errors editors will expect to find in an unprofessional manuscript, they sure as heck aren’t going to read the second sentence.
If they don’t read the second sentence, they aren’t going to finish your story and no matter how good the story is, it will never have a chance to get past the editor. And if you self-publish, you’re going to get those reviews that complain about poor editing—and you’ll deserve them.
This book will give you everything you need to put out a manuscript that doesn’t deserve those criticisms:
It addresses style and tells you what style you want to aim for. All of them are good in some situations. One of them is much less likely to get you in trouble.
It breaks down the sentence into parts of speech and tells you how to handle each one. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, noun phrases, appositives, commas, compound nouns, capitalization, plural forms of words, terms of address, abbreviations, apostrophes, adjectives, adverbs, passive voice. It’s all here in straightforward simple prose with examples.
It talks about the structure of sentences, with phrases and clauses and conjunctions, how they fit together, and how they should be punctuated.
Oh, and there’s punctuation. Commas, apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, parenthesis, braces, brackets, ellipses, the whole sticky mess is in here, clearly stated, with examples.
There’s a section on commonly confused words like adopt and adapt, affect and effect, any more and anymore, and so forth. Spoiler alert, there’s a lot of these.
There’s a section on common typos to look for, plus how to fix sentences you break when you edit. Yes, you do to break sentences when you edit, we all do.
It’s got a list of simple facts that many people still manage to get wrong. Stuff about tropes, guns, the phases of the moon, and so forth.
And I’m going to stop there because this is getting long, but Mike didn’t stop there. If there’s a way to screw up a manuscript so you look like a moron, Mike thought of it and told you how to avoid it.
The bottom line, if you don’t want to look like a moron, get this book, read this book, use this book as a reference, and make your manuscripts not suck.
Note, I received an early copy of the book for beta reading purposes and thought it was important enough to have on hand that I bought the final version anyway.
Enter Mike Reeves-McMillan's new book, The Well-Presented Manuscript. I was offered a copy in exchange for an honest review, and decided it was worth checking out. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get with this book. I know Mike on Google+ and he is a prolific writer whose stories and books are both traditionally and independently published. He also used to be a professional copy editor. I figured he knew his stuff about getting editors and agents to take a look at your work.
This book is part formatting guide and part grammar guide. In fact, you could use it as a checklist while preparing your book or story. Did I format my manuscript correctly? Have I made any of these common grammar mistakes?
I confess that the grammar guide made my eyes glaze over. There were a few rules I still couldn't understand, even after Mike's introduction and excellent examples. There's a reason I hire a professional editor for my work. However, I found the sections on adjectives and adverbs quite informative, and the long list of homonym errors was incredibly helpful.
I hope Mike will put this out in a hardcover version. A reference like this would be very handy to have on the writing shelves, and it's one, unlike Elements of Style, that I'd actually look through when I needed the help.