In movies, the writer has a typewriter or laptop click clacking away, drafting until they write the words “The End”. The author sends the book to their agent who instantly sends it to the publishing company and voila, a book is printed and on the shelf of every bookstore ever. The novel becomes a best seller, the novelist does book tours, and signs a movie deal. Life is fab-u-lous.
What the movie and television industry leaves out is the painstaking process of drafting, re-drafting and then finally sending the manuscript to your critique partners. They give you feedback and you revise and edit again. After that you either go through the process of querying and submissions, or in the case of indie authors, you send your work to a developmental editor.
So, you have a draft you really love. You want to share it with the world. Don’t hit submit on that self-publish button or query it yet. Find critique partners, preferably writers/readers of the genre you write.
Once I have feedback in hand, I go through the same process.
- Print out a copy of the ms with notes. Read over the notes. A hard copy keeps me from becoming tempted to edit/revise right away, which is a newbie mistake. You need a larger picture and time to process the notes for your WIP.
- Let the notes and ideas I have about the changes that need to be made percolate for a few days, perhaps even a week, depending on the project. Jot down all my ideas about revisions or any questions I might have for my critique partners/developmental editors.
- Meet with them in an online chat and bounce my ideas about the story. (In the Before Times, I’d buy them a coffee or a beer and sit down with someone. Given one of my editors is in another country, I’ll have to do virtual anyway. Though…I wonder if I could write off traveling there as a necessary business expense deduction if I flew there? Kidding!)
- Use the original notes, the meeting notes, and come up with a revision plan.
- Separate every chapter in Scrivener. Use the note cards feature to write up what I need to change, categorizing each step. Make the changes.
I hope a glimpse of my process helps.
©T.J. Deschamps 2021