To refresh your memory, the first steps involved brainstorming, character outlining, plotting and researching. Then the writing begins, followed by a rest period before rereading. Next is replotting and rewriting as many times as necessary.
So now what?
Once the story has been rewritten enough to your liking, the editing begins. Here is where you get really picky about spelling and grammar. Then when you are done, go back through it again, line by line. And maybe another three or four times after that. 😉
10. Beta Reads
Now you’re ready to show your work to the world – well, a small handful of people at least. A beta reader is someone who takes your book for a test run. Try to find people who will give you an honest opinion, and not just praise your work because they know you. It’s also helpful to find people who match your target audience.
Your goal is to find out if there are any plot holes, confusing parts and problems with your story. It’s helpful to give your beta readers five or six questions to help them focus on what you’re looking for.
Critiques are different than beta reads. Critiques are typically done by other writers, editors or people who understand the writing craft. Although they can answer the same questions as beta readers, they can get more detailed about whether paragraphs need to be tightened or where grammar and spelling need repairs. Good critique partners are hard to find. Join a writing group if you need help finding a match.
12. Revise and Repeat
With your beta read and critique results in hand, it’s time to revise again! Depending on the results, this may mean just a few edits, or it could mean an entire plot needs adjusting. You’ll have to decide how much extra work is needed and jump backwards in this list to the appropriate step. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
And now your book is done! Sort of…
Now your book ISN’T done, but it IS ready for submission. Truth be told?
This 48th draft you just completed is not actually the final draft. If you’re skilled enough to get your book picked up by a publisher, they will then proceed to start you on a whole new journey of rewrites and edits to get it up to the caliber they require for publishing.
But don’t fret. I didn’t write out these steps to scare you off. It just helps to be prepared and to know what to expect when starting a manuscript.
If you’re willing to put in the work, writing a book is a wonderful experience!
What will your next novel be about?