Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
You must get your book edited. This is not negotiable. Do lots and lots of drafts of your novel. This is not negotiable. Get beta readers to lay eyes on your manuscript. Did I mention this is not negotiable if you want to be successful?
I was lucky enough to participate in a webinar this week hosted by Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo. The guest speakers were the Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They were wonderful and spoke for over an hour, then followed with a half hour answering all of our questions. I’d like to share some of the wisdom they imparted to us. I’m going to break it up into five sections:
Part Five – Editing
It is finished. Complete. The “hard work” is done. Congratulations!
First, go celebrate a little bit. See those friends you haven’t seen in a while. Try that new restaurant everyone is talking about. You have done what only a small handful of people ever accomplish. You have written a novel. Check it off your bucket list.
Let your novel rest for a least a week. Not setting eyes on it for a month would be better. You can catch up on your social media efforts that fell by the wayside as you cranked through the end of the book.
Okay, so manuscript rewrite numero uno — save your document as a new version. If you can afford it, print out the whole book (after numbering the pages!) and put it in a binder (if you like playing with office supplies like me). Start from the beginning with a red pen. Go to the end. Rinse, repeat.
When you are chopping and moving stuff around, you don’t want to lose that fabulous scene where your heroine was standing in the kitchen and revealed something shocking. If it doesn’t make the cut for the novel, save it, clean it up, post it as an excerpt on your website.
So what are you looking for in each draft? Here’s some things you should consider (and also give this list to your beta readers).
Developmental Edit – Is there change, and is there growth?
Questions to Ask – Share with beta readers and consider for yourself.
Line Editing – Focus on this last, but do enough along the way to make it readable.
Beta readers… some writers are lucky and have a list of people on call that runs to the mailbox and back. Others are embarking on this writing and publishing journey like a solo flight over the Atlantic. If you have a community, use them to find beta readers. If you don’t have a community, get involved.
NaNoWriMo is a great place to start, but, just like the real world, you’ll broad range of writers who are more/less serious than you and may not by interested in your genre. You should also get connected with genre fiction communities. They can often offer the best insights because they are most familiar with your market.
Give as you would like to receive. Get a feel for the community, read some excerpts, maybe some pitches, make some comments. Help others and they will be willing to help you too. Build relationships that will last after you both have published your twenty-fith novel.
Writers are readers, always remember that.