I’m one of those 'this comma is terrible, no wait why is there no comma here? Ugh, grammar sucks. I definitely need a comma here' types of people. For me, the beauty is in the edit.
I used to think the beauty was in the writing, but I’m also one of those people who have these tidal waves of words that crash into me and if I don’t get them down as fast as possible, they wash away. Which means theres not a lot of time for fleshing out characters, adding minor character arcs, mirroring plot points, try-fail cycles and other things that actually make a book worth reading.
Thats where the edit comes in.
This process is going to look a little bit different for everyone. Some people may like to do the copy editing first, or be their own alpha reader. But I thought I would share the process that works for me.
How do you find your reviewers? Comment below!
Level One - This is immediately after I have finished the first draft. By now, I know the major plot points and the major characters. I like to go through and write a short piece about each of the minor characters who appear in more than one scene, this helps me get to know them better. I know this is pretty common among lots of writers. It might be a questionnaire, it might be a short story or an essay, but its important to know what this minor character’s life is like outside of the pages of the book.
This means there may be a lot of content that never actually makes it into the book, but there will also be little details that get added in that make them more real, and more memorable. When I’m done with this, I stop and send the manuscript off to my Alpha readers with the request that they give me notes on what they like, don’t like, pacing, plot problems, etc.
"Everyone is the main character of their own life."
Level Four - Copyediting. This is the when I get all the spelling and grammar down. You can do this yourself if you have confidence in your knowledge of the nuances of the English language. But for someone like me, for whom the rules of spelling and grammar are more of a nuisance than necessary, an outside source for this step is essential.
Level Five - Polishing. Nothing major should be happening to your novel anymore. Try to resist the urge to move that comma again, unless your copyeditor assures you its needed, that is.
Level Six - Publish. Ebook, POD, trade publishing, whatever your plan is, do it. Don’t second guess. Don’t worry. You’ve done the work, now it’s time to reap the rewards. Do it.
Like I said. This process is going to look a little bit different for everyone. And as an Indie author in between all this writing and rewriting and back and forth with your reviewers you will be building your platform and promoting your book. Its a lot of work. But for those of us who love it, its worth it.
What does your editing process look like? How many rounds of feedback do you do? Are you a comma mover? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and let me know.
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"Fiction gives the human soul a voice." - Helen Benedict
My thoughts on books, writing, inspiration, motivation and my incredible chosen proffession.