Yup! That’s how I feel when I’ve finally made it to the end of another story.
But what happens now?
Every author has their own process they go through. I thought I’d see if I could pinpoint how I get from the thrill of finishing that first draft to nearing the point of publication.
It certainly is quite a transformation.
But here’s my must-do list.
- Delete any and all unnecessary description that slows flow. I often ask myself: Does my reader really care about this little bit of info? Make them feel like they’re in the scene and move on.
- Combine sentences to show/tell the same thing in one rather than three while still maintaining a balance of short and long sentences.
- Watch out for info dumping and delete unnecessary parts that neither mean something to the plot nor move the story forward. This is the time to be ruthless. Murder those darlings!
4. Search for cliches and ditch them. Be original.
5. Search for overused words. I have a slew of those suckers that creep into my stories.
6. Check all those ideas and thoughts that I hopped out of the shower to jot down in the notes section of my phone. Add in and fix per the list of Things-To-Do-For-BookXYZ.
7. Read the story out loud. How does it sound? Does it flow? Do my characters sound like real people? The story should sound as natural as it would if you were sitting at a pub with your bestie and simply telling her the story.
8. Rewrites and edits—no matter how many passes it takes—are a must.
9. Tackle opening sentences of each chapter. Same goes for mini-cliffhangers or some sort of exciting news at the end of each chapter. I really do want to keep my readers turning pages.
10. Let it sit. This is a must for me. When I let my manuscript sit for a week to a month, the time away from the story gives my brain a break. And my brain works in very unusual ways. After time, I no longer have sentences memorized. I find out if a scene is funny, or sad, or just terribly bad. At this point, I also find issues I missed because I was too close to the story. Once, I wrote an entire chapter that rhymed. What? Yup. I had no clue I’d done it. Some days I talk in rhyme without even thinking. Told you my brain is strange.
11. Read. Read. Read. If I don’t move on to another story while BookXYZ is sitting, I read.
AND EAT! I tend to forget the importance of nutrition.
12. Shout the news that I’ve got another story for my beta reader(s) to critique. Then pray that they’ll tell me the truth.
13. Give it all another go… one more time… giving the story everything I’ve got left in me.
14. Write for me, not for sales!
15. Celebrate the accomplishment. After all, writing a story is not an easy task!
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few other things I do along the way.
What steps do you go though? I’d love to hear about them.