Friday, February 26, 2016

Haircut For Your Manuscript

Haircut for your Manuscript 
By Stacy D. Holmes

 It is AMAZING what a new haircut can do for your whole being.

On a spur of the moment decision, I popped into the local hairdresser with the thought that I needed some shape, something maybe shorter and a bit flirtier to lift my mood from the winter blahs. And it worked. I felt so much lighter, so much happier and, most of all, like everything was right with the world again because I felt good about myself. I felt confident and ready to tackle anything. 

All because of a simple haircut.

The same can be said for a manuscript. Shaping is crucial to a story, and cutting lines, paragraphs, or scenes that slow down the pace can make your manuscript that much tighter, brighter, and engaging.

No, I admit, it’s not easy at all. Sort of like having long hair and deciding to cut it short. Not an easy decision, and it usually sits with you for a while as you debate back and forth with yourself if you REALLY want to do that. Similar to scenes that you really like--maybe with clever dialogue or some funny incidents. It is a debate back and forth, almost a fight with yourself, because you know it would be better for the book, but you feel they are such good pieces of writing, too. But if those scenes stall the pace, you are doing more of an injustice to your story, and especially to your reader, by giving them a pause, a reason to close the book and go do dishes. You want them to HAVE to keep turning the pages and let the dishes sit for another hour while they finish your book.

No, it’s not an easy decision at all to cut parts that you thought clever and witty, BUT like getting a fresh haircut, your confidence in your story will raise tenfold when you chop off the unnecessary bits and see how much you gain in forward momentum.

And like those that cut their hair and donate the lengths to special services for those in need of wigs etc, save those witty, funny scenes or pieces of dialogue in a miscellaneous file. Just because they didn’t fit this manuscript, doesn’t mean they can’t benefit another.

About Stacy
Stacy D. Holmes is a freelance editor, senior editor with The Wild Rose Press, author of over twenty published works and a hobby artist. Over eighteen years in the publishing industry has given her the experience to assist both published and unpublished authors on many different projects and in any stage of the writing process. She enjoys guiding authors toward their goals, watching an idea blossom into a full-fledged manuscript, a good story grow into a great story, and especially being a small part in writers achieving their dreams. and

The Golden Rule of Friendship: Do not covet thy best friend’s fiancée.

An easy rule for Shane Gallagher to obey when he meets Eden, as staid and business-minded as his good friend, Brad, whom she is about to marry. But when she unexpectedly blossoms before his eyes, temptation takes seed.

Eden is happy with her calculated marriage plans until she is forced to spend a day with her fiancé’s best friend—minus her fiancé—and experiences an evening far different from her usual calm and analytical existence.

Can Shane stay away from the forbidden fruit? Or will the sweetness and allure prove too much to bear?

The Wild Rose Press:


  1. What a great analogy. A haircut makes all the difference and I totally agree with your comparison. Let go of your babies...sometimes less is more!

  2. I'm slowly learning how to 'cut' some of those unnecessary lines in my manuscripts, which ends up a cleaner...more polished look. Great post, Stacy.

  3. Hi Stacy: thank you for all your years of contributing to the literary world on so many levels. Great post. This is good inspiration for me to sharpen my editing scissors (or maybe my ax)and really give my latest manuscript another going over.

  4. Thank you all for joining me today! I'm always happy when a tip helps!

  5. Love the analogy. I know my manuscripts have benefited when I've squinted hard and pulled out the extra words.