♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Behind the Scenes. How does this writing game get done?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are always grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors will engage and impress you weekly, so be prepared to become a regular reader..
I’ve written about my process a time or two, and always hope that a would be writer finds it and is put at ease by the things I divulge in the exploration of my process. Some of us are always looking to validate how we work, and that alleviates a lot of the anxiety around writing. We can get our work done.
Instead of rehashing a lot of what I assume other authors will say, and to avoid rehashing my own work – here is a short list of the steps I take with no details (see K Around the Web for articles and interviews about my writing):
- The idea comes to me.
- Write some notes on that idea (let it rot on my desk for a few weeks to a few years).
- Find some research materials and review them.
- Find time to start writing, stop, start..stop…finish.
- Initial read through, taking notes of my impressions, changes, new ideas.
- Fix weak/extra language, change names, correct any foreign language.
- Notes/citations, etc for any historical pieces
- Let it percolate for a few weeks and allow any new or outstanding ideas to gel.
- Rewrite/edit – final touches
- Pass through the e-reader software for last final touches/typos
Wait! What was that last one? Pass through the e-reader software for last final touches/typos…
Yup, I have downloaded an e-reader (Natural Reader) to help me do my final proof on my manuscript. It’s a relatively cheap software, under $100 and it bypasses the usual proofreading snares.
How so? We all know that our eyes ignore mistakes and misses because our brain fills in the correct information. If you’re reading along at your normal speed, then you tend to miss a lot of typos or gloss over rough patches.
Our brains are very good at filling things in, when it is our information being filled. Our readers will struggle, their eyes trip up on the typo or wrong word choice. It’s frustrating all around. We authors want to give our work the best attention we can, but we can’t catch everything. You need another set of eyes. That said, another pair of eyes to proof your work before submission isn’t always available. The editor sends back your work, leaving it up to you to make the corrections they suggest (or not). Typos often occur here. And, our editors, no matter how good they are, are not computers. They miss things too.
So what the Natural Reader software does is allow me to sit back and listen to my book. The voices are awkward at first, but they have made vast improvements on the electronic voices. I try them both out for the first couple chapters to see who’s voice appeals to me more in the narrative. I use headphones to complete the isolation necessary to concentrate on what I am hearing. You can turn on music from a radio or another computer if you wish to help drown out reality. I do that as well. Now, settle back and let the computer read the book to you, while you read along with the computer. This instant double-check catches almost all typos. You’re simultaneously hearing and seeing the word, so if it is wrong, you’ll know it (unless it’s affect and effect, which sound the same and are easily confused).
When that process is done, I’ve usually read and reread the manuscript so many times I am almost sick of it. Still, I make sure to let it sit for another few days at least, weeks is better, a month, even better. Give yourself time to come away from the work and be sure that you’ve done everything you can and want to from A to Z. There will be no turning back once you send it to your publisher. It is now in stone, so to speak. Of course, you can always fix some things in a later edition, but you can’t do much, or the book won’t be the same. Learning to let go is one of the crisis points for every author. We know that six months into publication we start thinking about all the neat things we could have done on the book, but failed to think of at the time. Tuck those ideas away for a sequel or for a new book and stop worrying.
I recommend the e-reader to everyone. It’s a great tool you don’t think of using, and it is available to everyone, not just people with visual impairment.
Let’s hop on over to go behind the scenes with our other authors. Before you go, check out author Stephany Tullis…
Stephany Tullis‘s life changed dramatically in the fall of 2008. When her oldest son asked, ‘why don’t you just write a book? Do what you love to do?’, after a few weeks of thought, she decided to give it a shot.
Stephany Tullis graduated from Russell Sage College with a Masters in Public Service Administration. She is the recipient of several leadership and career related rewards. She continues to consult for not for profits and lives in Georgia with her family. Check out her books! She’s from Upstate New York too!