Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Critiquing your manuscript the toddler way

One of the first phrases my daughter picked up was “bye bye” right along with “uh oh.” Both of these common toddler phrases can be applied to your manuscript. As I say often, it is amazing what you can learn from your toddler.

Sometimes it’s easy to get attached. I love all my fictional characters so much it is hard to know when to cut. They are my fictional children! But some simple and basic toddler sayings can hold great meaning for your manuscript.

You must know when you’ve made an “uh oh” and must say “bye bye” to a scene or a character. Don’t worry you can save it for yourself. My prologue has taken on many versions all of which I love for different reasons. They may not have worked for the story but they can live in my personal collection.

Think basic and simple. It is so easy to over think things. I know because I do it all the time!

Another thing I do is read my work to my toddler. I know she doesn’t fully comprehend the non-fictions I write, articles or my fiction work but reading outloud is a great way to critique your own work. And though my daughter doesn’t care or understand it, I do pay attention to how she reacts to the flow of my sentences. Understanding the tone and flow of your sentences may help a troublesome scene that was missing its correct tone. Reading to a child can help with that.

Has your child helped you with your manuscript?


I had some great opportunities to guest blog for some great author’s and friends last month.

The ever-changing writing process at author Colin Falconer’s blog

Finding Inspiration from Unlikely Sources at author Kristen Lamb’s blog

Being a flexibly, trained writer at author Rachel Harris’ blog

Woof Wednesday: Doggy assistant, excuse or both? At author Amy Shojai’s blog.

Who Dares Wins Publishing offers fantastic writing craft and industry Write it Forward Workshops. Be sure and check them all out here.


  1. These are great tips. I read outloud to my family all the time - especially when we're all trapped in the car together.

  2. Wow. I've never thought of reading my MS aloud to my toddler daughter. Might be fun! I've been planning to do a read-aloud draft soon anyway.

    As for how my daughter has helped me with writing, well, now that I have her I appreciate my writing time and use it much more wisely. (So says someone who SHOULD be writing now instead of reading blogs!)