The wacky art of novel writing (part 4 of 4)
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Missed the first three posts of how I go about writing a novel? Read them here Part 1 Part 2 - Part 3.

Novel writing: Step 7 – Clip, clip, prune – read again

Crappy first draft, crappy second draft, three rounds of printed manuscript edits, another round of on-screen edits. I’m getting close to the end, despite it feeling like this...

I’ll spend another couple of days going over the manuscript with my “search and destroy” hat on, looking for overused words and expressions. “Puffed out cheeks” was one of them in The Neighbors, which my lovely beta-reader Sally alerted me to by circling the twentieth occurrence with rings of black pen and the word “ARGH!” Lesson learned, the hard way! I don't think I've used the expression since.

Nowadays I have a list of words to avoid including but not limited to; that, nod, stare, weird,  heck, frown, smile, just, sigh…or variations thereof. For my last novel I had almost fifty words to check, so as to not subject my beta-readers to torture again.

Once my “search and destroy” mission is complete I read the manuscript on the computer. I’ll make final changes such as moving scenes around or strengthening dialogue, and after that, it’s time to show my work to other people.

Novel writing: Step 8 – Beta-Readers

I’d be lost without them. They’re the people who’ll tell me exactly what’s wrong with my manuscript, and their help makes everything so much better. My writing group friends – the ultimate plot-hole spotters and idea generators - will ask the “but why didn’t he/she” questions that make me go, “Hmmm…”

Three or four people read my novel before I do another round of edits, and send it to my brilliant editor, Michelle Meade from MIRA. Of course, that's when the real editing work begins :-)

That's it - this is how I go about creating my novels. I’d love to hear all about your process too. Feel free to comment and share what works for you!

Thanks for reading!

Hannah Mary

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