You’ve been writing, editing, proofreading, and rewriting your short story, poems, or novel. At long last, you’re at the point where you feel your WIP (work in progress) is done! Pat yourself on the back, do a happy dance, get a celebratory snack — but don’t start submitting just yet. There’s a good chance you still have more work to do before you’re ready to submit to literary editors and agents. Use these writing tips to improve your final draft and boost your odds of getting published.
Writing Tips To Improve Your Final Draft Before You Make Submissions
Let your work sit untouched for a few days. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a crucial step to get yourself in the best headspace for editing. While some writers jump into edits the moment they’ve typed “The End,” it’s better to put the draft aside for a few days, weeks — or even longer. You’ll come back to your draft with fresh eyes and will be able to see any needed changes you didn’t notice before.
Ask someone to read through the draft. Whether you have a friend or family member who’s a grammar geek, or a standing relationship with another writer or critique partner, it’s helpful to have another reader review your draft. By the time you’ve finished a draft, you’re so close to the work that you may find it hard to remain objective, and you may miss plot holes, clunky lines, or passages begging for character development. An outside reader will notice these discrepancies and ask questions you might not have considered — but an editor or agent definitely would.
Research publishing industry guidelines for your genre. Though you should never write solely to satisfy trends, it’s also a good idea to make sure your writing is following the current publishing industry standards for length, topics, and format. No matter how strong your writing is, a literary journal editor or literary agent may simply have to pass it up if it falls too far outside the submission guidelines. If you’re writing prose, take the time to research how long pieces should be (whether they’re stories, essays, or books). If you’re writing poetry, find out whether editors are interested in rhyming poetry, prose poetry, free verse, or other forms. Knowing if your draft meets the criteria for the markets where…