Thursday, February 25, 2016

6 Six Methods Not to Use When Editing Your Manuscript

As you might gather from the title of this post, I am editing my manuscript. Every once in a while, when my oxygenation levels get very close to frankly hypoxic (read, wicked low), I convince myself I love the process of turning my first draft (read, bloated, indulgent French mess) into something that's more or less readable. After going through this process with four novels, I have patented six unique and little-used methods to turn that diamond in the rough into the next great American novel. (Results may vary, success not guaranteed.) In no particular order, here are the six methods you can--but probably shouldn't--use to edit your manuscript.

1) Use all the time you've alotted for editing to do things you enjoy, like playing aboriginal instruments, teaching your cat to pee on the toilet or learning to curse in 100 languages (May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!) and let your mother edit the manuscript. I mean, come on, she's your mother, She's Going to Love It! And if she doesn't love it--take it as a sign to give up writing and take up the Didgeridoo.

2) Print out the manuscript and toss it up into a stiff breeze. Take out any page that is lost, found up-side down, or smeared with bird poop. The resulting manuscript will be quite a but shorter, and that's good, because your literary agent wanted you to tighten it up, right?

3) Invite all your friends over for a 'Bring Your Own Booze and Edit My Manuscript' Party. In addition to getting your manuscript edited (and possibly vomited on) there are some other perks. Many of your previous friends will never speak to you again, and who needs so many friends when there is NetFlix and HBO Go? Also, if you are looking for honest feedback, think Tequila. In Vino there may be Veritas, but in Tequila there is mucho Veritas.

4) Send the manuscript to your sixth-grade English teacher, you know, the one that said you had real potential. 

5) Take a lot of naps, learn to speak Entish, and send the manuscript to your literary agent as is. I mean, if you wrote it, it must be profound, right? Editing a masterpiece like this is akin to smearing finger paints on the Mona Lisa, adding a  row of kazoo players to the Boston Symphony Orchestra or putting windmills and fake volcanos on Augusta National. 

6) This would be the place where I write something intelligent, and reward you for wading all the way through this tripe. No such luck! (I will say this, however: I think the googly eyes on Mona really work.)

Cheers, peter
Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and THE INTERN, a novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Consthe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at