What Am I Working On?

It’s time for another ‘What Am I Working On?’ post!

Right now, I am deep in edit-mode for the project I’m currently working on: a paranormal romance set in New Orleans, code named CLOAK (click the link to go to the Pinterest board for this project). I mentioned CLOAK in my last ‘What Am I Working On’ post, where I was only about halfway through the first draft. I gotta say, I’m pretty happy with how efficiently I finished that draft–and the overall quality of it!

My editing process goes something like this:

  1. Read/Revise/Edit in Scrivener – this step is mostly about spotting obvious errors, tightening up scenes and taking care of any final to-dos. This is also the step where I confirm the order of scenes and make the first pass at inserting chapter breaks.
  2. Export to MS Word
  3. Read/Revise/Edit in MS Word + Grammarly – In this step, things get more serious.  I read the whole books again, with a tool called Grammarly (think MS Word spell checker on steroids) running alongside. In this step, I also firm up the chapter breaks and further nitpick sentences.
  4. Send to my Alpha Readers for review!  (This time, I have 4 Alpha Readers lined up and ready to go!)
  5. Take a break – while my Alpha Readers read and comment, I try not to look at the manuscript at all, so I come back to it with fresh eyes for step 6.
  6. Apply Alpha Reader notes – In this step, I go through each set of Alpha Reader notes and apply them to the manuscript.  Sometimes I have to make hard decisions, but for the most part, this is very cut and dry.
  7. Final Formatting – This time around, I’ll be formatting it for submission to publishers/agents, which means some different tweaks than formatting it for e-book publishing.
  8. Send to my Beta Readers for review!  – I’m not sure if I’ll be sending this to Beta Readers this time around.  My  Alpha Readers are awesome. It will depend on what kinds of notes I get back from them if I feel the story needs another round of review before submitting. So this step is TBD.
  9. Submit!  I’ll be pitching this manuscript at Emerald City Writers Conference in October, so its first submission is coming up quick!  Ready or not, here I come!

Editing feels a lot like rearranging a room: at some point, you look up and realize the room is a disaster, and you start to think it will never look like what you’d envisioned. But, as long as you don’t panic and keep working, you’ll have an ah-ha moment, and everything will click into place.  After so many rounds of this over six previous books, I don’t panic too much anymore (or, rather, I recognize when I start to panic and can tell myself that this is normal), but it’s still a pretty trying process. This time around has been less trying than others, and I think Scrivener may be to thank for that.  I’ll post about Scrivener sometime in a Cool Tools post because it’s that cool and totally worth talking about.  There are lots of posts and reviews about it online already, though, so if you’re looking for a way to organize your writing (especially if you write long form, like novels) it’s worth looking at.

I’m currently on step 3.  And I’m hoping to hit step 4 (Send to Alpha Readers) by Monday, 9/5!  EEEP! Wish me luck and cheer me on!

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