Welcome to my feature, Writing & Publishing Tips. You’ll be seeing this new feature between twice to four times a month. Here, writers and readers alike can learn firsthand knowledge about writing and publishing from various authors (and occasionally me). I hope you enjoy, and never hesitate to ask questions.
Today we have the lovely Sherry Soule talking about her writing process. It’s an extensive and detailed process that might help other authors too. Take a look and see if her process is something that will make the writing journey easier and more organized for you as well.
MY WRITING PROCESS
By bestselling author Sherry Soule
Many people ask me about my writing process, so I’m going to start off by sharing my own creative method. This chapter may help some of you and others may think I’m a tad wacky.
Although, the latter might be true…
So here’s my technique and this advice should really help any indie authors or unpublished writers just starting out. Please take it to heart!
First off, I use Microsoft Word to create my stories and I should mention that I also use some writing software. For me it takes about four to six months to finish a decent draft.
Once I finish a second draft, I find at least two beta readers that I can convince to read my drivel. With their feedback, I revise. If I get writer’s block or can’t think of a clever way to describe something. I read online poetry. Once I’m full of pretty prose and ideas, I revise again. I’ll continually do this until I have a third draft.
Next, I put each chapter into the AutoCrit Wizard. Can’t say enough about this amazing online software. It catches a lot of overused words and phrases, passive and telling words, info-dumps, dialogue tags, and pacing issues. Okay, so after I paste in my chapter and go through each tab, I revise the text. Then I paste it into the Wizard a second time to make sure I’ve successfully reduced the problem areas.
When I finish doing that, I upload the entire manuscript into a different software program that I equally love. It’s called Serenity Software and it’s awesome. It finds clichés, redundant phrases, spelling errors, and offers alternatives and suggestions on polishing up wordy areas. (It’s worth the price for the redundant phrase finder alone.) Then I save the report and do a search for all of the redundant phrases in my manuscript. Sometimes the report can be 25 to 50 pages long. But I go through and revise them all. This takes about two to three days.
Now it’s time for my critique partner(s) to edit my work. With my critique partner’s, I usually exchange chapters at a pretty fast rate. Two or even three a week.
When I’m done exchanging chapters with my critique partner’s, I start listening to the entire manuscript read out loud on my computer. I use this software NaturalReader. (The voices you can purchase are very natural sounding.) If I catch an error, typo, or a missing word, I just paused the program, and then fixed the issue. Sometimes I’ll re-listen to a piece of dialogue several times until it flows smoothly before moving onto the next section of text. A very tedious chore, but one I cannot recommend highly enough to new writers. As a freelance developmental editor, I always advise my clients to do this, and I can always tell when they have not. Plus, it will transform your dialogue into riveting conversation that sparkles.
Once all of the above is completed, I hire at least two different freelance editors to critique the manuscript. (I know this can get expensive, but there are some great editors out there that are reasonably priced.) After the editors complete their critique and send it back, I revise once more. And I will even listen to certain sections of dialogue or chapters again to make sure they are polished.
I cannot stress enough how important it’s for indie or self-published authors to hire professional editors to review your work BEFORE you publish.
After I finish my final revisions, I will listen to the entire story read out loud again on my computer. Then, drum roll please…the manuscript is ready to be sent to my publisher for review.
So the next time someone says to you, “So, you just sit home and write?” Please smack them upside the head once for me. Not only is writing a long process, its damn hard work to get a well-crafted manuscript ready to be viewed by the public.
And I’m not saying doing all the above will make it perfect, but you’ll be a heck of a lot closer than the other indie or self-published authors, and even unpublished writers that are querying agents, out there. I also have several books on writing with useful tips and tools that every writer can use to improve their craft.
Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:
Trying to get an agent? Decided to self-publish? Well, this book can help!
These manuals offer basic techniques for revising your fiction novel. The books also provide comprehensive tips on revision and practical guidance on self-editing, which every writer needs to revise like an experienced pro.
WRITING FICTION BOOKS