Posts Tagged ‘beta readers’

When I wrote Illegally Innocent (my first self-published novel), I did not have a set process for how I completed it or a certain number of drafts I planned to do before publishing. Honestly, I have no idea how many different drafts I wrote for that novel. When I wrote The Anorexic Experiment, I decided I wanted to try something different–basically a formula. Below you’ll see my novel-writing process for The Anorexic Experiment, and it worked so well that I am using the same formula for my current project, the sequel to Illegally Innocent. You can watch the companion video for this post on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/HLEgLyc3wmU. If you have a certain plan you follow for your writing projects, let me know in the comments below!

First Draft—I am not an outliner. I have a general idea of where the book is starting and where it is going to end up, and I have some plot points in mind that I want to touch on along the way. I try not to edit myself much at all in this first draft and mostly write whatever comes to mind. This is sort of a “junk draft.” I do not let anyone read it. Much of it may not even make sense to someone else or be in the order it is going to be in when all is said and done. I will have a word count target in mind and will try to write until I have both reached my target word count and have managed to form some semblance of an ending to the novel.

Second Draft—I start revising. I don’t spend a lot of time on descriptions or fine-tune the plot yet, but I rearrange the plot points into something that makes more sense, fix obvious errors, and in general turn it into something that I am okay with someone close to me reading. My husband, Mike, reads it to give me big-picture feedback.

Third Draft—I use Mike’s feedback to make more edits and now I will spend time on descriptions, fixing dialogue, and doing what needs to be done to make me comfortable with other people reading it. I fix everything I can identify as needing to be fixed. I ask for beta readers and send the manuscript to several people for feedback on things like what parts are confusing, what parts are boring, and any other general edits that they notice.

Fourth Draft—I take the feedback from my beta readers and incorporate much of it into my editing process. The book is basically finished by the time the fourth draft is done.

Fifth Draft—This is where I go over the book with a fine-tooth comb, checking for any grammar errors I may have missed; checking that I have called all of my characters by the correct names (and spelled their names correctly); and if I have used any brand names, I look them up to make sure that I spelled those brand names accurately. I also check for words that I may have repeated too often. One of those words that I tend to use too much is the word “actually.”

Done! Ready to start the formatting and publishing process!

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I am excited to share that I have been distributing copies of my current work-in-progress, a YA novel called The Anorexic Experiment, to a dozen-ish beta readers over the past couple of weeks and have already started hearing back from them! While I am waiting on feedback, I am working on the manuscript for a different book (title still undecided). This month marks four years since I released Illegally Innocent, so it is definitely time to publish another book. I have two author events scheduled before the end of the year, and I will keep you updated on whether I will have a new book available at one or both of these events. I am going to try a different self-publishing company this time, so it remains to be seen whether that choice will make the publishing process easier or harder than last time. If you’d like to visit me at an author event, mark your calendar now. 🙂 Here is where I will be:

Saturday, November 12, 2016–Santa’s Bag Arts & Crafts Show at Marshall High School in Marshall, MI, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4, 2016–Christmas at Wings Art & Craft Show at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday