Hints to Turbocharge Your Manuscript!

1. Print it out and read it!
You can’t get the flavor staring at the monitor.
2. Read it out loud. –
This is a simple polishing tool for your manuscript.
3. Simplify…Simplify…Simplify
KISS principle works in writing, too...
4. Fine tune your organization.
Does the same subject show up in two or three different places.
5. Add periods –
Make your sentences about 17-20 words long.
6. Cut the flab –
Anything that doesn’t add to the ideas will take away from your manuscript.
7. Advance the story.
Every word should move you forward.
8. Be specific.
You must use the right word for each concept… Be ruthless!
9. Strengthen your verbs.
Concrete nouns and verbs add action to your writing.
10. Define your terms.
Do you take for granted terms that your reader needs to know?
11. Look for loose ends.
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes-
poor planning and organization will leave your reader hanging.
12. Convert negatives to positives
13. Streamline sentences.
Short sentences are easier to read and carry more impact for the reader.
See also number 5 -
14. Eliminate expletives.
15. Scrutinize your paragraphs.
Does each paragraph deal with one point or idea?
16. Check your pronouns…
Does each noun agree with each pronoun.
17. Work your nouns and verbs –
Use the right noun so that you won’t need an adverb.
18. Check for parallel construction.
Headings should be similar in construction.
Elements in a series should be alike.
19. Ferret out repetition.
The same words should not be used too often or too closely together.
20. Go active.
Passive voice will leave the reader bored. It is often misused in technical writing to convey a sense of omnipotence and distance the researcher from the reader. It really doesn't help the reader at all.
21. Eliminate the prepositional phrase –
Use a separate sentence.
22. Delete clichés.
How many times have you heard "index of suspicion?"
23. Get a second opinion.
Have someone else read your manuscript. Ask them to be ruthless.
24. Check your math, check your drugs, check your techniques.
Double or better yet triple check the data.
25. Credit your sources properly.
When you finish, you will want credit, too!

I got the idea for this checklist from my favorite English teacher
and an article written by Jack Hart in Writer’s Digest. [1] [2]
I have modified the list extensively for the craft of medical writing.

[1] Hart J: 25 ways to supercharge your manuscript. Writers Digest March 1997.

[2] My favorite English teacher (my mother) harped on each
and every one of these for many years whenever she read
any article, book, or chapter that I wrote.