I know that the most important thing to get right when subbing is the writing. So I'm curious, when you receive manuscripts that are very strong, but not quite there (ie. not a beginner effort, but not quite publishable) what are the most common things that you ask for revisions on? In other words, what can a solid writer do, before sending their manuscript out, to elevate his/ her work to that next level?
When I ask for revisions, my requests are usually very specific to that manuscript. But you can trim.
And trim, and trim, and trim. How much of your manuscript will be conveyed in the illustrations? How much is just literary flourishes? Which parts build directly on the narrative's core ideas, and which are unnecessary branchings? Sometimes I get texts with a great deal of dead wood, and sometimes I get the literary equivalent of a bonsai. Make your manuscript something that only needs a snip here and there, rather than a chainsaw. Or worse, the chipper.