Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 15, 2015

Ten Tips Before You Turn That Manuscript In by Phyllis Naylor

GallerypianoDuring the past few months I have been working with Newbery Award winning author, Phyllis Naylor on designing and developing her website. Many of you know her book SHILOH, which landed her the Newbery Medal in 1992 and put her in the elite group with writers like, Jerry Spinelli, (another one of my clients) Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Richard Peck, Avi, and Linda Sue Park, to name a few.

She has published 142 books, a few thousand short stories, and at last count, several years ago, she had received 10,443 rejections. That in itself should be inspiration for all of us to keep up the struggle. 

I asked Phyllis if she would write up some tips about revising to share with you and she did. Here is Phyllis:

Ten Tips Before You Turn That Manuscript In

Okay, so you have a draft. Probably your second or third. You’ve found your voice and point of view. You’ve wrestled with character motivation and stereotypes. You’ve checked off suspense and conflict, and now you’re ready for the final review:

1.  Are the pages welcoming to the eye as you turn them, so that you don’t have long paragraphs, one after the other, of unbroken narrative?

2.  Have you searched out repeated information that only needs to be mentioned once: “…the lake where he had spent many summers fishing and sailboat racing?”

3.  In a long dialogue, he said, she said, have you replaced some of the saids with answered

or replied or called, etc.

4.  Do all your dates and times and ages check out?

5.  In a final read-through, are there any, any, phrases or sentences or paragraphs that you

could delete to move the story along?

6.  Is there unity in the story—all the characters and scenes essential to the plot, all coming

around full circle?

7.   Are the names of all characters different enough that the reader can easily tell them apart?

No Jerome and Jerrell; no Michelle and Melanie?

8.  Have you avoided introducing a host of characters all at the same time?

9.  If you have used any material from another author, have you given the proper credit?

10. Finally, read the manuscript aloud to yourself, page by page or chapter by chapter. Listen for the flow of the language. If anything breaks the rhythm, if any word jars, remove or replace.

If you get a chance, take a minute to check out how Phyllis’ website turned out –

We are happy with the results and it is jammed pack with everything about Phyllis and her books. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks for sharing Phyllis’ website – it is fun. Loved clicking the beagle to enter 🙂


  2. Wow, great article. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Love the website: colorful, fun, and easy to navigate!


  4. Perfect! Just what I needed. Thank you, Phyllis and Kathy. And that’s a snazzy web site!


  5. Thanks for the wonderful tips, Phyllis. And Kathy, I love the job you did Phyllis’ website. The beagle and the flipping pages are unique. 🙂


  6. Thanks for the great checklist Phyllis! The website looks great Kathy, I especially like the cork corkboard!


  7. Love Phyllis’ new website! Shiloh has always been one of my favorite books!


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