Before I get too jiggy with today’s
notes, I’ll just say right up front that this is my personal
process. All writers are different, and we all need to find our own
process, so your mileage may vary.
Why am I giving you a disclaimer right
up front? Because I don’t work according to many of the “rules”
(or “guidelines” on kinder, gentler blogs) that are bandied about
for new writers still trying to figure out what works for them. I’ve
tried lots of things, and discovered what works best for me, and
that’s all I’m sharing here – it’s by no means a
definitive…well…anything. It just is what it is – my way of
All that out of the way…when I refer
to my “finishing process”, I mean everything that comes after the
first draft. For me, this includes four things:
Read through & minor revisions
Edits from my editor
You’ll note that there is no “second
draft” or “third draft” – I am not a multiple drafts writer. I
do one draft, and everything stems from that. If the rough
draft isn’t good enough to only need minor revisions/edits, I trunk
it. This does mean I take greater care with the first draft, but I do
try not to let it drag on too long (TBW being a notable exception –
last year was a busy year!). As long as it ends up moving along a
definite plot line that is resolved in the end, odds are I can make
it publishable. It doesn’t need to be a literary masterpiece – it
just needs to entertain readers for a couple of hours.
In an ideal world, I’d let the draft
sit for a few weeks before re-reading it. But I treat my writing as a
business, and as such I have deadlines to meet. TBW only got to sit
over the weekend, but that’s the nice thing about working with
other people. They will (hopefully) spot all the stuff you miss by
going back too early.
So Monday I started going through TBW.
Starting at the beginning, I fixed any continuity errors,
characterization, scene shifts (serial novels tend to need more work
in that area), and cleaned up any grammar that jumped out at me.
Spell check was on too, so I caught my misspelled words as well. And
I formatted the document as I went through so my editor wouldn’t
have a hard time reading. I identified just two largish issues I need
to deal with before I send it off – my setting map, and my ending.
I’ll get those fixed tomorrow.
After my round of revisions/edits, I
email the document to my editor (TBW will be sent off either Thursday
or Friday). She’ll have it for a couple of weeks, and send it back
to me all marked up with changes and suggestions using Track Changes.
I’ll go through the entire ms again, accepting or rejecting her
suggestions, and making changes where indicated (note, I rarely
reject a suggestion or change). As I’m going through the document
this time, I mark my italics and simplify the paragraph/chapter
elements as much as possible to facilitate the next step.
At that point, I declare the book
“done”. The only changes from there on out will be small things
my proofreaders find, and publication stuff (formatting, conversion,
print formatting, etc).
From there, I format the book into
various ebook files and one print file. Once I have all those ready
to go, I send out copies to proofreaders and reviewers (Advance
Reader Copies). Then I make whatever small changes the proofreaders
send back, and that’s pretty much it. Voila, book done, moving on
to the next…
And now you see why the disclaimer’s
at the top. I don’t revise, revise, revise. I don’t spend a ton
of time on a finished draft, and I don’t waste any sleep over
whether it’s “perfect” or not. I do the best I can, and then
move on to the next work.
So that’s my finishing process –
what’s yours? Do you have one? If not, what are you currently