In our second segment, we take a look at what the process is once you’ve finished writing the first draft of your book.
Remember to celebrate finishing your book before you make a start on these!
Put it away for a few weeks
Give yourself a break, and let it ferment
- Use this time to check any research gaps
- If you’ve still got the urge to write, why not start plotting and drafting the next one?
Time to review
- Save your book as a new version
- Run through it and fill in those research gaps
- Make sure you have page numbers at the top or bottom of each page
- Print out your book double-spaced – it gives you extra room to scribble in the margins
- Arm yourself with some highlighter pens, a red pen, some coloured sticky notes and a notepad
- Read it as a reader first.
- Highlight parts that don’t make sense
- Flag any pages where you still have gaps to fill, for example half-finished scenes
- Cross out any text that is no longer required
- Use your notebook to keep a “To Do” list
- Repeat this process once you’ve taken in all your changes from the first review.
Let it go
It sometimes takes more than one read-through to complete your review process, but at some point, you’re going to have to let it go
- Pass to two trusted friends and ask them to read and make notes of anything that doesn’t make sense (these are known as “beta readers”)
- Chew nails while waiting for their response, or eat cake. Lots of cake.
Review their comments
It’s the same as your own review process
- BUT REMEMBER you don’t have to change everything your beta readers suggest – it is YOUR novel
- However, you want to ensure you clarify any questions they pose, such as “why did that person say that?” “Why did he go there?” – these are important.
If your intention is to publish, then you’ll need a professional editor
- Look on the Queensland Writers Centre and Editors Queensland websites
- Ask other authors who they use
- Find an editor who has worked on stories similar to yours
- Read the contract carefully
- Work with the editor to polish your manuscript to within an inch of its (and your!) life.
That’s it – you’re ready to publish!
Here are some books I’d recommend from my own bookshelf about the editing process:
Why not come along to one of my writing workshops?
On Saturday 27 May, I’ll be teaching two workshops through Queensland Writers Centre in Cairns, Qld. Spaces are limited though, so please book well in advance.
Click on the below links to find out more:
I look forward to seeing you there!