As I’m winding down the final edits for Moon Shine (goes live in 12 days) I thought I’d compile a list of steps my draft goes through when it becomes “done.”
1. Draft/Edit: it can feel frustrating at times but really it’s the most fun part of the process.
2. Finish Draft: then put it down for a week to let it simmer.
3. Proof-read + make notes of repetitive words.
4. Make corrections
5. Copy edit #1
6. Proof-read again + fix dialogue
7. Read draft aloud + Copy edit #2
8. Proof-read #3 + find continuity issues
9. Add to fill plot holes
10. Read aloud again
11. Take list from step 3 and use thesaurus. Use the fuck out of thesaurus.
12. Proof-read #4 fixing problems from notes taken during steps 1-11
13. Read aloud #3 + Copy edit #3
14. Give manuscript to final beta reader (Mr. J)
15. Re-read manuscript specifically focusing on using correct names/descriptions/actions/mechanics of firearms (if applicable).
16. Final read aloud
Note: Reading your draft aloud is the best thing you can do for editing, in my opinion. I catch so many grammatical errors and passive voice issues when I read my work aloud.
Note 2: Throughout the editing process I look for A) filter words, B) repetition, and C) passive voice
Note 3: Throughout the editing process I make notes every time I re-read the manuscript. I write down questions I have about setting changes and character development. I also write down/highlight all plot holes and anything I think is boring.
Note 4: I do not spend money on a freelance editor and copy editor. I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I do all my edits myself because I know how (feel free to argue with me in the comments if you’ve read my work) but I do use beta readers to gauge plot pacing, character development, and identify possible sensitivity issues.
Note 5: As important as it is to work consistently on your manuscript (especially if you have a deadline) it is equally important to give your book some down time. I try to take days off whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or when I feel myself over-editing. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. You’re doing something you love, don’t burn yourself out. Also, taking breaks lets new ideas emerge and distance allows you a fresh perspective.