July 4, 2014

The End – Now What?

By Leeann Betts

Great, you’ve been able to write two of the sweetest words ever an author dreamt of writing, “The End”, which means the story is done.

Well, not actually done, done. Just done with getting the story down.

Now, the work begins. I have a process I put each manuscript through to tighten the writing and make sure this is the best I can do on my own.

I like to set aside the manuscript for a month at least. This gives you a chance to step away from the characters, to focus on another project. Make the next step easier.

Because what you’re going to do next is edit, cut, revise, and change.

I have a list of “weasel” words I like to check for. Included on my list are it, almost, just, slight, all –ly adverbs, that, But, And. Be merciless and get rid of them, reword the sentences, do something to make the writing tighter.

Then I read through for things like, “nodded her head”, “shrugged his shoulders”, “sat down”, “stood up” – unnecessary words that slow the reader and irritate fellow authors who will read your book.

I like to print out the book and read through it, writing a one-sentence summary of each scene, combining each chapter into a paragraph, to produce my long synopsis. This process helps me see errors I didn’t catch on the computer screen, and developing the synopsis at this point shows me if there are unresolved threads, holes in my plots, and chapters that are the wrong length. I also make a cheat sheet of physical characteristics as I go to ensure my heroine’s eyes that were blue in the first chapter are still blue ten chapters later.

Once all of this is done, you’re ready to send the manuscript to your critique group, if you have time, or to a publisher or your agent. While you might not have caught everything, this list will pick up many common errors and make the book much better.

Question: What is your technique for revisions?
Leeann writes contemporary romantic suspense from Denver as the alter ego of Donna Schlachter. She writes historical suspense under Donna Schlachter, and contemporary suspense under Leeann Betts. Donna describes Leeann as “cute, and perky, and all the things I’m not”. Leeann describes Donna as “too intense for her own good”. J Donna also describes Leeann as “her alter-ego.”She is an accountant by training and loves to “juggle the books”. Donna has two devotionals published, which are promoted on her blog and website.
Donna: and

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