10 tips to nail your manuscript

First of all, sorry to all the Americans, you will have your revenge soon!


Meanwhile, let me share 20 tips to nail your manuscript and forget about reviewer #3.


1. Think first, write later.

Most of the time, we have mental chaos that we need to write legibly. But, if we simply write without thinking first, we will write chaos too! So first of all, do as Ed Sheran and think it out loud. When it has a notion of sense, write it!


2. The dot and the comma

One of the most frequent errors for non-native English speakers is not wrong words or false friends but dots and commas, especially commas. Ah, the commas, they give the peace of the sentences, they provide structure. They are the queens of the manuscripts. So if you want to be the architect of English sentences, learn how to use the comma! 

Find out how in this link: www.grammarly.com


3. Goodbye adverbs, goodbye very!

Non-native English speakers use to abuse with the adverbs. Especially Spanish speakers. But the adverbs in English are not a common thing. Actually, (damn, I just used one of them), they give a sense of weakness to the sentences, especially very. So, from now on, replace your adverbs with stronger substantives, for instance:
very big – huge, large
very careful – cautious
very clear – obvious
very often – frequently, generally
very good – excellent, great
very long – extensive
very sure – certain
very simple – basic, essential

As the University of Duke recommends: Highlight all adjectives and adverbs. For each, ask if it contributes a meaningful idea, or if it’s fluff. Do a specific search for commonly overused appendages like “very”, “extremely”, or “clearly”, and remove them.


4. Kill repetitions or you will kill the reader

Word repetition will kill your reader in the most painful boredom possible. Last weekend I was reviewing a 51 page manuscript for a journal, and the authors used the word “extended” 117 times. 

You can deal with repetitions in two manners: looking for a thesaurus or making pronouns your best friends.

Here I let you a repetition checker to see which is your cliche word: 


And also a link to my favorite English thesaurus dictionary:



5. Structure is Key

When you write a long text, divide it into three parts, intro, everything in the middle, and clausula. Then, divide it into smaller sections with a common purpose in the text, for instance, all the experiments you did in the methodology. Then, divide it again into smaller units, call them paragraphs. All paragraphs should represent the same idea, and all ideas should have its paragraph. In Rome, they use to call it Divide and Conquer.


6. The template is a template for a reason

If you start messing with margins and paddings and spaces, your manuscript will look illegible. And no matter if it is the best paper in the world, it will look horrid.

7. Say no to grammar mistakes

Say no to them with fantastic online grammar tools. The bad news is you now have no excuse!



8. Be authentic

You have to write your manuscript in English. You need to keep a formal structure. You have several rules that your manuscript needs to accomplish. But in the middle of structure and strictness, try to find the formal words and structures with which you do not puke every time you write them. Be original!


9. Read it aloud

Reading your manuscript in a loud voice will allow you to realize how it sounds: good, bad, fluffy, to serious, to cheesy, etc. Moreover, if you use the read tool in Microsoft Word, it will be easier to detect typos.


10. Set writing sessions and keep your momentum

Honestly, (yes, another adverb) writing manuscripts was not your dream when you decided to become a scientist. So, it is not surprising that writing is not an interesting thing for you to do. You let it for the last moment, and then you do not have enough time to review it. You tried it several times, but you ended procrastinating watching all my comics, and the rest of your feed on social media! Ok, let me share with you a technique called Pomodoro Timer, it consists of 25 minutes sessions of active work and focusing followed by 5 minutes of relaxing compensation. When you chain several 25+5 minutes in a row, you build your momentum, and then it becomes easier to keep doing until your brain is too tired. Then, is the proper moment to stop, anything you write from this moment on will be worthy of you.

Tomato timer: www.tomato-timer.com



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