What’s a manuscript?
A manuscript is the rough draft of your story. It has a beginning, middle, and an end or a cliffhanger (which means a sequel is expected).
What does a manuscript include?
It includes the following:
An introduction to your world which or world building as said in the literary community. World building is introduced in your introduction as the reader is reading the story. I wouldn’t want to read a book where the first few chapters are about how this world looks and how it operates, its people, its customs religion, government, etc. This is why it should gradually be introduced in your book as the main character experiences it.
This is also where we get to know the main characters in detail and the supporting characters (i.e. best friends or girlfriend/boyfriend, family, or whatever else you think we should know about the main character or characters) are introduced as well. Readers should also know about the description of places where the characters travel to so that they can get a visual on the scene. Characters such as the gatekeeper, maids, co-workers, or people/creatures the main character encounters and has a minor role/appearance in your book should have at least one to two sentences in descriptions. Descriptions should be something (noticeable or not) about the character that will make a lasting expression. It is also a good idea to give your character quirks and imperfections so that your readers can relate to is the MC a gym junkie, favorite color is green, has tattoos, is an artist, is introverted or extroverted, has a disability, likes to crack their fingers when nervous or bite their lip or chew their nails or fidget with the hem of their shirts and many other things you can think of. This is something that can also be introduced throughout the storyline. We also get to know the love interest if there is any. Also what the quest, issue, crime, the MC needs to accomplish in order to fulfill a prophecy, major task or to save the world.
The middle or the climax of the draft is where the MC encounters the incidents or mishaps that hinders them from fulfilling their ultimate goal (a.k.a inciting incident or subplot). This is where the plot thickens. This should not be so grand that it takes away from the story line or too small that it takes two sentences to overcome. Usually, the actions take place here. Either a fight/war, conflict, confrontation, heartbreak, death, failure, or something that was mentioned through the story that readers get to finally read about in detail.
The downward spiral or the end of the story. This is where the plot starts to dwindle or calm down. The enemies get defeated, the blossoming love has a happy ending, the MC overcomes their fears, the obstacle is overcome, and the traitor is eliminated. Basically the hardship gets resolved and everyone gets to live happily ever after. Depends on the type of story you are writing. If its a romance then the love interest ends up together, if its a thriller then the mystery gets solved, if its a crime then the killer gets caught, or if it’s an adventure then the MC has fulfilled their role. Bottom line the climax has been solved by the ending of the book.
You can include an epilogue to give readers a snippet of other characters life. You can also use it to introduce the next story in your series if you are continuing the same story line. You can also use the epilogue to tie lose ends that you thought were needed in the story. You can include a secret that will be crucial to readers for your next story. Basically your epilogue can be whatever you want it to be or not include it at all.
While you are writing your story it is a great concept to include beta readers and/or critique partners. They are essential for moving the story along and give you suggestions about the story and characters.
After your story is completed then you’re off to editing.