Friday, August 7, 2015

The Never Ending End Of Your Manuscript

You are finally down to the last couple of chapters, Yay! But you realize this isn't over - not by a long shot. So, what do you do next?

Why, you go over your book again, and again. It truly can seem never ending. 

Depending on how long it took you to reach the end of your book with revisions and critiques, you should go back over the beginning at least. Your writing has probably advanced since you last touched on the first few chapters and they are as critical as the ending, even more so.

I have a system that works for me, and have used it on both Fable and Fated. I'll list it here, along with the new added step I will be doing from now on to get my book ready for the editor - a stylized sheet.

1. Make an outgoing outline: I print out and read each chapter to my husband, you can choose who works for you, and as I go, I mark mistakes I catch, or he catches. (It's also good to read the story out loud)

 Then I buy poster board and start with chapter 1 (or prologue) and list the important points in each chapter. This way when I'm finished, I have my whole entire book right in front of me. It helps to see if your story sags anywhere, and if you need to touch on something you brought up on chapter 5 and haven't touched on since. It helps with inconsistencies and plot holes. 

2. Make a list of changes you need to implement: I also have a white board in my office that I use to list things I need to go back and change. Also reminders to check voice of characters ect..

3. Start at the beginning: After I have done these things, I begin to go through each chapter, scene by scene, line by line. I fix as much as I can find and add or take away whats needed, all the while I'm marking off my list of "to do's" from the white board. 

4. Stylized sheet: This is a new addition to my self-editing. My editor, Susan, sent this to me. It will help you to save money with your professional editor too. Basically, you make a list of your characters, separately, and add their attributes, physical descriptions, quirks, ranks/titles, ect... You can also make a list of words you need to check for using too much, such as but, was, that, and so on and try to change them. 

Another good listing would be timelines, significant dates, relationships within the characters, if made up language like I have, make sure is consistent throughout. There's a lot you can check to make sure you are covering all aspects of consistencies and plotting.

After all that, you are ready to send it to your beta-readers. Once their marks have been fixed, it's onto the editor. 

As you can see, revisions can seem never ending, but you do need to decide it's ready once you've covered all these and fixed everything. At some point you need to make the leap. 

I hope this helps you to see how important it is to look for and fix any mistakes, inconsistencies or plot holes. Your book will never be perfect, but it will be pretty damn close.

What kind of schedule have you set up to ready your book for publication? Any shares are great and appreciated! Have a great weekend.

Love, Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Bah. Stupid Blogger has the sign out button where I expect the publish button to be. Whoops. *sigh* And now to re-write my comment.

    Mindmapping software (such as Freemind, Freeplane, or XMind, all available on Windows, Mac, and Linux) could fill in for posterboard and the like. I'm engaging in a project to intricately web my novella series, Shadows, before I slog through a rewrite of book 5 into books 5 and 6. I'm keeping track of events, characters (including physical descriptions and any personal history revealed in the narrative), and who is present for what events and who may be aware of what as it comes up. Massive project taking tons of time. I imagine it would be quicker to do at the end of each chapter of before a day's writing (depending on how much writing is going on in the day). If done while writing (in between chapters or the like), I certainly wouldn't stop if in the midst of The Blazing White Heat.