Hanging Pictures in Your Story: Putting the finishing touches on your manuscript

We’ve been in our new home just under a year, and we have finally gotten around to hanging pictures. That’s usually the last piece of the puzzle—that step that makes you feel like you really live in your house.

Hanging pictures is like the final edits of your manuscript. Just like a picture, you make sure each room (chapter or scene) has something colorful in it. A picture is often more than just decoration—it is either a photo of something important in your life or a painting/print depicting something that stirred you emotionally. Every chapter should contain meaning like that—something that forwards the plot and/or shows character development and emotion.

A picture is often a focus point in the room. Every chapter needs focus—a reason for being in your story in the first place. A fun way of ensuring that there is a point to your chapter is to ask yourself, “If I wanted to take a picture in this chapter, what is the best moment to capture?” If the highest moment of your chapter wouldn’t create a meaningful photograph, maybe you need to rethink your chapter.

Another facet of focus is directing people’s attention. Often, the arrangement of pictures on the wall can control how people view a room—the order in which they see objects, and even the overall feel of the room. In your final revisions, you refine where you want your audience to focus their attention. What do you need them to notice in each chapter? Are you purposefully misdirecting? Decide what’s important for the audience to pay attention to in each chapter, and write your prose accordingly.

So when you’re putting those final touches on your manuscript, pay attention to where you hang your pictures. You want your finished manuscript to be pretty, but you also want the pictures to focus attention and convey the deeper meaning of your story.

Hang your pictures with care, and enjoy finally being moved in!

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