As I said in the previous post, I had almost 80,000 words of pure bunk. More errors and typos were in the manuscript than actual sentences. What was worse was that I discovered that people didn’t like cliffhangers, so … I had to write more!
So off I went and before I knew it my 79k words turned into about 110k words. I was ready to publish right? I mean that’s the point isn’t it? Write, publish.
Boy was I wrong and you are too if you think that.
The first draft is for you and for you alone. Don’t make my mistake and show it to anyone, except maybe your spouse or family. Why? Because now come the dreaded rewrites.
Give your manuscript a few days rest so you have a clear mind and then pull it back out. Your task? Rewrite every chapter until “the end.” What? My first writing wasn’t brilliant enough? No. Really, it wasn’t. No one’s is. Trust me on this. Pull it out and start reading. As you read, you will see problems, inconsistencies, errors. You will see better ways to word your sentences, so do it. Don’t stop until you hit “the end.” But … but… what about editing? Yeah, that comes next, grasshopper and you will hate life. Get ready for it.
From what I have seen most authors would rather have all of their teeth pulled without any anesthetic than edit. Why? I think it mostly revolves around ego, but for some it is an overwhelming process that is terrifying. What do I mean it revolves around ego? Well grasshopper, many or most authors are so in love with their words that they don’t want to do the necessary culling. They just can’t imagine deleting line after line of text. It’s essential to the story! Or … is it?
Editing is simply cutting the fat from your bones. You want to remove everything that is not necessary. Why make a sentence length 30 words, when it can easily be 10? Tighten it up! Cut away those extra words with relish. While you are doing it, you will find you can reword sentences to be active instead of passive. You can dump a ton of dialogue tags. I mean really… if it’s two characters talking over the course of one page, do you really need he said, she said? Nope. Dump it. Streamline it. Polish it like an antique silver set.
Now do it again. What?!?! Yes you heard me. Go through and do it again. Your eyes will be crossing but do it again. Look for extra words, misplaced words, typos, missing punctuation, spelling errors, grammar errors. Look for every single little thing.
Now, pass it off to a beta reader or three. While they read, play minecraft or grow a garden. Trust me, you might turn into a skeleton while you wait. That is, unless you have https://chessythecat.wordpress.com reading you. She will get back to you quickly, but it might not be what you want to hear.
Let’s face it. All writers and authors want to be petted and praised for being brilliant. The thing is, 7/10 times we probably don’t deserve it. Make sure your words are the best they can be before you share them. Then get ready for critique. And if you listen to nothing else I say, listen to this – DO NOT TAKE CRITIQUE PERSONALLY. If someone critiques you, they have taken time out of their busy lives to read your words and have made suggestions or comments to try to help improve you. See it as that and nothing more. It’s hard. I know it is. Buy some ice cream, binge on Netflix while you sulk, get over it and fix it!
Now you get to do the absolutely horrible part. The real edits. Prowritingaid.com is a self editing software that is free for up to 3k words at a time. I highly recommend it. Use it. Fix your errors every 3k words at a time. Don’t stop until you are done.
Read it again, but this time – out loud. Finding errors? Fix them.
Now you are ready for round two of beta readers. Let them read and enjoy life. Try not to fret about what they are reading.
Apply changes you agree with and now – here is your decision. Are you self pubbing or indie pubbing? Hire an editor. Polish it once more with a professional. Why? Because this is your face to the world. Do you really want to be known for typos, grammar errors and misspelled words? No, I didn’t think so.
Traditionally publishing? Oh your journey is just beginning! Now you get to write a synopsis. More on that in the next post.
Post your thoughts in comments! I look forward to reading them.
2 thoughts on “The Process Pt. 2”
This is great! Love reading about how you got from a to z!
I hope it will bring a smile and perhaps be useful to someone else. 🙂