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:
- 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.
- Export to MS Word
- 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.
- Send to my Alpha Readers for review! (This time, I have 4 Alpha Readers lined up and ready to go!)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!