Super slick submissions

So I managed to get on this Curtis Brown Writing for Children Course back in April. I was thrilled when they told me that once it was ready they’d review my full manuscript. No sending in three chapters and waiting for the ‘We really liked…” email for me. I was strongly advised to change the dual boy and girl POV to just the heroine’s POV and hack the book down from a sprawling 120,000 to an acceptable 90,000 words. Both very long, painful operations.

  • I finished in September.
  • I then printed the manuscript off and had a few people read it. They loved it naturally.
  • More rewrites and editing followed.
  • By early October I was ready to print it off again.

The advice from Curtis Brown was to make the manuscript as polished as possible before submitting. I’m determined to at least appear to be a committed, professional writer who knows the score.


  • I read it aloud to myself, every single word and edited again.
  • The manuscript was now ready to go through Grammarly, 8000 words at a time, to check grammar, spelling, passive voice, repetition, overused words…
  • I changed form to from – my dyslexia showing through again.
  • I ignore instructions to change UK spelling to US.
  • Ditto references to overused words. Stupid software, the word is repeated as a rhetorical device.
  • Too many she jumped, she ran had to be changed to Daisy leaped, sprinted.
  • Too many crashes, became smashes.
  • Okay I know “really, ‘’actually” and ‘’anyway” appears a lot, that’s because they’re character’s verbal ticks dumbass. But maybe they’re overused?
  • Destroy all traces of the passive voice.
  • Remove repetition.
  • Remove repetition.
  • Dramatically, ruthlessly and emphatically cull the adverbs.
  • No, I think you’ll find my word pair is better, thank you very much.
  • Err no, I think the preposition at the end of sentence works fine.
  • Does a new speech carry on from the previous sentence or start on a new line?
  • Are split infinitives really a no-no?
  • Comma or semicolon?
  • Remove double spacing at start of each paragraph.
  • All paragraphs have to be indented, manually
  • 1.15 or 1.5 spacing?
  • Laborious check for single speech mark ‘ appearing randomly and change to ‘’
  • Change first line back to what it was in four versions ago.
  • Recheck the word defence has a c in English and not an s.

Ready to go.

Better email to check typeface and spacing is acceptable before sending.

”Ralph, Thanks for the email regarding sending your manuscript, but this week it’s the Frankfurt Book Fair, so everyone is manically busy. Best leave sending for a couple of weeks.’’

Oh yes, Frankfurt, the biggest book fair in the World, is on. Anyone with the tiniest inkling into the workings of the publishing world would know that Mid October is the worst time to send a manuscript. My ignorance so ruthlessly exposed.

My hands reach to my face and claw at my eyes. My mouth flaps open and I slump to the floor. I lay in a tight ball of wail and whimper until the dog licks my face. At least I spotted the squinting modifier on page 138. And now I wait.



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