Nine Effective Ways to Improve Your Literary Fiction Manuscript

Writing your manuscript can be a painstaking and daunting journey. Even if you give your best to your manuscript and still feel unsatisfied, you are not alone. Many authors have the same feelings as you in this regard. 

Authors are either extremely critical or extremely lenient towards their work, and finding a balance can be hard when you are rereading your manuscript for the fiftieth time.

So, how do you figure out how to improve your manuscript? Well, there are many small and big tasks that can help you along this journey.

Here are some of the tasks you must add to your checklist to bring out the best of your manuscript.

  1. Strengthen Your Characters

The characters in your literary fiction manuscript are its lifeline. Your book cannot succeed without strong and complex characters. After all, the reader wants to empathise with the characters and feel what they are going through. 

Just like human beings reading your work, you must create multidimensional characters to engage your readers. You can also ask literary editors for their expert opinions on improving your characters to boost the overall readability of your manuscript.

  1. Experiment with Structure

The structure of a book, often known as its backbone, is also an important part of a literary fiction manuscript that can help you bring in your manuscript. It introduces your readers to the characters, settings, conflicts, and so much more.

 If you do not feel satisfied with the structure of your book in the beginning, do not rush into making things work. Instead, feel free to experiment with different structures. This way, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you will be sharing the best version of your story with the world, even if it is delayed.

  1. Incorporate Subtle Hints

One of the defining factors of good fiction work is its quality to keep the reader at the edge of their seat. As soon as they hit a brick wall, it is likely that they will not try to tear it down for too long. 

The best way to keep your audience engaged through the book, regardless of the length of your manuscript, is to incorporate subtext and subtle hints throughout. 

Subtle hints in your book can add complexity to your characters and make you feel more confident about sharing your work with the world.

  1. Show Through Words

The readers and authors can both agree that showing holds more power than telling. When the readers are reading a work of literary fiction, they do not want you to explain every setting, emotion, and conflict using long paragraphs. Instead, they want good work to engage all their senses. 

If you want to show and not tell your audience, you can use strategies, sensory tools, and dialogues to convey more with fewer words.

This approach helps you connect with the reader effectively and efficiently without overwhelming them with long paragraphs of description.

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  1. Empower Your Plot

A strong plot of a book is as important as a well-drafted structure. It is the part of your manuscript that determines whether the reader will put the book down after reading one page or will keep flipping the pages all night long.

As an author, it is up to you to weave a strong plot that lures in your potential readers, engages them, and provokes their thoughts.

It is always a good idea to ask your literary fiction editor to help you find ways to empower your plot to boost the readability of your book.  

  1. Create an Emotional Connection

Empathy serves as a driving force for personal growth in several matters. Human emotions are not so different when they are reading a book. Since empathy is a driving force for many, you can use it as a weapon of choice to build an emotional connection with your readers.

Make your characters relatable and give them meaningful story arcs to win over the hearts of your readers. A slight touch to the emotional side of the reader can ensure that they will keep reading your work till the last page and recommend it to other avid readers of the same genre without any hesitation.

Make sure that you base this connection on efficient pacing in your story. Create a consistent balance between slow moments and tense moments in the storyline to keep readers engaged throughout.

  1. Find Your Unique Voice

All authors are recommended to learn about literary fiction from the most renowned names in the field. Harper Lee, Charlotte Bronte, Salman Rushdie, Chinua Achebe, and Stephen King are just a few of the names that stand out in the realm of literary fiction.

While there is a lot to learn from these amazing authors of literary fiction, the worst thing you can do is lose your unique voice in your efforts to replicate their voice. Always remember that the unique voice of these authors is one of the main reasons for them to find success in their professional lives.

Remember to be authentic in your writing and stay true to your unique voice and vision for our story. A unique voice paired with the right writing style, vivid descriptions, and amazing prose can bring out the best in your story.

  1. Pay Attention to Detail

Ensuring the success of your literary fiction manuscript relies on many factors. One of these factors may be your attention to detail. After all, no author wants to face the embarrassment of having loopholes and abandoned plotlines being pointed out by their audience. 

You must be very detail-oriented to ensure consistency in your writing, watch for typos, and edit for grammar and punctuation to bring out the best version of your book.

Of course, there is no harm in adding symbolism and overarching themes that add depth and layers to your story. However, you must always keep your focus on always paying attention to the details. You can also hire a developmental editor to revise your manuscript and point out any room for improvement.