Everybody goes through the process of writing a novel a little differently. I’m not sure how many people write about that process; maybe they’re all too busy just following it. That said, I thought I’d take a break and go through what’s been working for me as I cross over the halfway mark of my novel “Into The Badlands“.
As I write this I’m twelve chapters and 45,000 words into the manuscript. For the first time ever I’ve been soliciting reader feedback (this is the first time I’ve ever considered publishing anything I wrote). That has been instrumental in making the manuscript better and, as an unexpected benefit, has made it more enjoyable to write. Writing is typically a solitary process, but sharing the manuscript with beta readers has allowed me to interact directly with an audience as I write. I really have enjoyed hearing their feedback and discussing the story and the process with them as I go through it.
I’m using LibreOffice to write the book and Google Docs to share the manuscript with beta readers. I write a chapter then share it. They provide feedback and I modify the manuscript accordingly. I do this a chapter at a time; rinse, repeat.
But once this first draft of the manuscript is finished it’ll need more work before it’s ready. I plan to then make two passes on the entire manuscript.
The first pass will focus on fleshing the story out. I’ll add details and depth, and I’ll ensure continuity between chapters. This won’t materially change the story, but it’ll fill in the light spots.
After that, I plan to make a second pass. The story will already be fully written, so this pass will focus solely on spelling and grammar. I have to make sure that it’s as close to perfect as I can make it. My professionalism will be judged on it.
Once I’ve made two full passes through the manuscript I’ll consider it production-ready. I’ll then build my eBook and upload it to Amazon. After that I’ll need to figure out how I’m going to get on the other platforms (B&N, Apple, etc). Smashwords seems to be the way but I need to do more research.
So here are the steps I plan to follow:
- Write first draft
- Incorporate reader feedback
- Flesh out manuscript with more detail
- Spell/grammar check entire manuscript
- Build eBook and upload to Amazon
- Upload to Smashwords for distribution there and to other channels