Manuscript Makeover
Revision Techniques No Fiction Writers Can Afford to Ignore
Elizabeth Lyon

Penguin Group (USA) Inc
Trade Paperback/368 pages
ISBN: 0-399533958
Buy This Book


". . .a comprehensive guide that offers fiction writers succinct and motivating techniques. . ."

Elizabeth Lyon’s Manuscript Makeover is a comprehensive guide that offers fiction writers succinct, motivating techniques to enhance their manuscripts. Don’t be discouraged with revisions, she says. Lyon notes that Dean Koontz in the afterword of Whispers revealed he discarded thirty-one drafts for each page in his final manuscript.

Writers regardless of experience can jump about the different sections depending on their needs, or they can use the book as a reference. It is divided into four parts: revision for complexity in style, structure, how to develop more vivid characters and how to avoid mistakes when submitting your manuscript. Lyon provides practical check lists after each chapter.

Writers can examine their work and determine if the timing and pace is vibrant, or if the point-of view establishes an effective level of intimacy between the characters and the reader. “Complex and too complicated are two different things,” she writes about viewpoint. “Complex is interesting; it shows writer finesse and control. Complicated is a chore.”

What differentiates this book from other guides is the author’s choice of writing samples. She uses numerous excerpts from award-winning authors to demonstrate different styles of writing. For example, Jonathan Kellerman showing a sense of smell: “The air smelled like a damp flannel.”

Lyon, who has published a half-dozen books on writing, packs expertise into this small paperback. It energizes the intrepid writer to revisit and rewrite manuscripts without being discouraged.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla