Ten Things Found in Any Manuscript

So I’m not sure how many of you know about my local writing group, but it’s OSUM and fun and we meet at the coolest place. On a normal Friday I get together with K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, new member Madeline Smoot, and sometimes member Jenny Ziegler.

Yes, we talk about fun stuff. Yes, we get writing done. Yes, we listen to music from the 80s and read the graffiti on the walls (and there is lots and lots of it…). And yes, we come up with ridiculous lists.

Care of “The Group” from “The Place,”
here are ten things found in any manuscript:

1) A dog barking in the distance

Due to the paranormal craze, we’ll stretch this to include werewolves, too.

2) A Star Trek reference

3) A head wound

A gash, a small cut, blood dripping warm on the face. You know you have one.

4) Some stupid joke which will not longer be funny after 50 revisions

So kill the darling early. No one else thinks it’s funny from the start.

5) Something small to crawl through (like a secret tunnel or a ventilation shaft).

Make this a Jefferies tube, and you’ve got (2) taken care of, too.

6) A doorway/keypad/lock that’s impassable that your character manages to pass.

Why? Because your character has to change the world. And how else is your character going to change the world if they can’t get through that locked door or figure out the secret code.

7) Homage to a friend or teacher or family member or pet (Easter eggs)

No birthday is random in books. It’s kind of like lottery numbers.

And names? It is no coincidence I named the bad guy in THE EMERALD TABLET after my ninth grade Geometry teacher.

8 ) Explosions or fire

When the middle of the book is sagging, blow something up. It’s sure to make something happen to the plot.

9) Piercing or brooding eyes

Maybe think up some new descriptors for the eyes. And vary the arching and raising and narrowing while you’re at it.

10) Typos

Yeah, maybe these aren’t so good to have. But yet they exist. Always.

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Filed under P. J. Hoover

10 responses to “Ten Things Found in Any Manuscript

  1. Dang, I think my current ms. only has 4 of them. Better get cracking on the other six.

    Fun list! :)

  2. Natalie Aguirre

    Funny how you picked someone you didn’t like as the bad guy. I can relate to that. I don’t have all those things but I can relate to many of them.

    Sounds like you have a great writing group.

  3. Parker Peevyhouse

    Uh oh, how am I going to work in a Star Trek reference??

  4. I HAVE ALL THE THINGS! But…I had inside info. Muahahahaha.

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