Season 2, Episode 5: The (Not-So) One-Hour Manuscript Review

Both Melanie and I struggled to keep the One-Hour Manuscript Review to, ahem, one hour.

In this episode:

  • Jennie teaches us how to look at our finished drafts not as a writer would (looking at pretty sentences, etc..) but as an agent or editor would if they pulled it off the slush pile.

  • The One-Hour Manuscript review is a series of timed readings of specific parts of your book, after which you answer big questions.

  • It’s looking at the story and character motivations, the force of opposition.

  • Mel talks about her Four-Hou— I mean, One-Hour Manuscript Review and the red flags it brought up in her first draft.

  • We go back to Mel’s genre choices, and how you can let those choices drive your decisions. By choosing one genre (medical thriller?) it doesn’t mean you have to squeeze out all the romance. But the main genre has to be the trunk of the tree, and the other “sub-genres” can be the branches.

  • Jennie tells Mel there weren’t any holes in her analysis. Instead, her analysis showed us where the holes were in her novel.

  • If in revision you only brush up on the prose, the holes will still be there. Right now is the time to uncover the holes and fix them. Fixing the prose comes later.

  • At the end, we talk a little about feedback from beta readers. Mel sent her story to a friend to read (not me!) and Jennie helps walk her through how to process that beta reader’s feedback.

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