The book is all down in one glorious first draft and I’m really excited/passionate about it. Now it’s time to take this draft and turn my good story into a great story that’ll satisfy readers.
Here is an outline of the steps I’ll be taking to improve my book:
manuscript to-do list aka shit that must get done
- Print novel. – Being able to hold the first physical version of the book in my hands is going to feel pretty sweet, I can’t wait to press it against my bosom like a mother embracing her newborn. However, the purpose of printing my manuscript is not to sing it lullabies, but to have a tangible version to work with for the next step.
- Edit/revise novel. – Read the hard copy out loud to myself while scrawling notes and highlighting the areas which need to be worked on. I imagine this stage will include a lot of profanities. Once done apply changes to digital version.
- Send revised version to critique partners. – I have two amazing critique partners who’ve been great sounding boards for me during the writing process. I’m excited for them to read the cleaned up completed draft.
- Revise/edit based on critique partner feedback. – Go through CP notes, apply the changes that I feel work for the novel.
- Send novel to first round of beta readers. – These are the ‘Friends & Family’ betas. People who know me and are willing to have a look at my manuscript/give me their feedback.
- Panic. – I haven’t even sent it to them and I’m already freaking out about my friends and family reading
my precious babythe book. What if they hate it? What if they think I’m a shit writer? AHHH! *hides*
- Revise/edit based on beta reader feedback. – Compare the feedback I’ve gotten from first round beta readers and apply the necessary changes to manuscript.
- Send novel out to second round of beta readers. – These are the strangers recruited to read the book and give constructive feedback. The fact they’re strangers means they’ll be less likely to spare my feelings when giving critique. These betas will be representative of my potential audience and must be fans of the genre as well as read widely in it.
- Panic. – Oh god, the only thing worse than having friends and family read my book is having strangers read it. *hyperventilates*
- Revise/edit based on beta reader feedback. – Compare feedback from round two betas, check where things are correlating and apply necessary changes.
- Write final version. – Print out the third version of the manuscript. Read out loud. Make any last developmental edits to the story. Apply to digital version and put the novel aside.
- Start book two. – My fantasy manuscript has series potential. I want to have the first draft of book two completed before I query and pitch book one.
I have no idea how long this process is going to take, but I’m eager to get started on the journey!