Five Ways to Know That Your Manuscript is Ready to Submit

 by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton


1.     Does your story have:

One main character?

A setting, using strong sensorial words?

A problem? Quest? Journey? Mystery? Can it be solved by the end of the story?

Attempts at solving or completing the plot line?

Suspense, with each attempt to succeed intensifying the tension?

Character-driven actions for the circumstances or world you have developed?

A plot that must be solved by the main character’s wits, strength, abilities?

A climax where the main character is at his lowest point?

A character’s attempts and failures at solving the problem that add up to the knowledge, talent, strength needed to actually solve the story problem?

Character growth for your main character? Change? Become stronger, better, wiser?

A satisfying ending? Have you wrapped up all the loose ends?


2.     Make sure your manuscript has been read by a critique group.

Rewriting is the most important part of writing.

If a critique suggestion rings true to your character, make the change.

If you have more than one person saying there is something missing or needing to be rewritten, chances are strong that you need to rework that portion.


3.     Make sure your manuscript has been edited.

 Check grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure.


4.     Make sure you know the proper format for submitting a manuscript.

Name, address, phone number on lefthand corner.

Title half way down the manuscript, with your name below.

Second page has a header with you name, title and page number.

The following pages all need the same header with the page number.

Begin your story at the top of page 2 under the header.

Word count in the upper right corner.


5.     Make sure you check the publisher’s guidelines prior to submission.

Every publishing house has its own distinct directions on how, and to whom a manuscript should be submitted. Follow those directions, or your manuscript may end up in the trash never having been read.

 Most successful writers spend more time and energy rewriting than they do writing. My father always said, “The harder I work the luckier I am.” The same is true with writing.