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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition by Sara Paretsky, Hallie Ephron

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Chapter 25

Flying High

Fixing Plot and Character

“My pencils outlast their erasers.”

—Vladimir Nabokov

It’s tempting to open up your document and start editing, tweaking word choices and punching up sentences. Sure, you could do that, or you could take a more strategic approach and look first at the big picture. That’s not an easy task when we’re talking about a 260- to 400-page manuscript.

This chapter suggests ways to fly high over your manuscript, focusing on the big fixes needed. After that, read through subsections, focusing on specific aspects that need pulled apart and addressed.

I recommend three techniques for this process:

  1. Reread from start to finish, examining the main plot and central character; list the changes you need to think ...

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