Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mary Burton's Draft Process and Me

I’ve been following Mary Burton’s draft process with my third novel in the Cumberland Creek Mystery Series.  This is a new process for me—it’s much more methodical than the way I usually approach my drafts. If you’ve been following along on my blog, you know that I sort of skipped ahead on one part, which is that I allowed an early read of the manuscript. I have a beta reader who prefers a early read. She made several suggestions—some of which I’ve taken.
For example, I introduced a new character in this book that I was uncertain about—she set me straight. So, I got rid of the character. Now, if I had not been uncertain about this character, I would not let an outside reader’s opinion affect me in such a way. But there you have it.
So, I’ve been working on the next draft. And now I’m ready to move on with the fourth draft: 
Fourth Draft/Polishing:  Really perfect sentences.  Weed out weak words, eliminate passive voice, use literary devices, and search for clichés.
One trick I’ve learned through years is using Microsoft Word’s search and find function to make this part of the process go quicker and smoother. I will search for over-used words like “well” and “then” and so on. I will also look out for passive voice.
So while I’m working on the third book in my series, I am gearing up for the release of the second book in the series, which is SCRAPPED. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here with on this blog whose writers all have series in various stages, but it’s a real challenge. I enjoy it, but am finding it a bit surreal at times. (What year is it anyway? And didn't her daughter just graduate from high school--or was it college? heh.)
So, after I go through what I’m calling HYBRID (at this point) with an eye for perfecting sentences, I will be sending the manuscript to a few beta readers. So, I am nearing the end of the process for this book. After they read it and react, I will look at the manuscript again in terms of what they had to say about it. Then I will let it stew and go back to it one more time before I send it off to my editor. For this part, Mary suggests printing the manuscript, rather than reviewing it on the computer at this stage—I concur. Stay tuned.


Linda O. Johnston said...

You sound so organized in your drafting process, Mollie. I had a system initially and still do, sort of, but it seems to morph over time.

Mollie Cox Bryan said...

I am trying to get organized. I think if I do, I can be more productive. I'm also trying to get organized in my life. That's even more of a challenge. LOL.

Betty Hechtman said...

You do sound organized, Mollie.It gets hard to keep to a plan when you are writing one book, getting back proof pages on another, and hearing that they are having a cover meeting on the first book in your new series and they ask for suggesions and alternative titles, just in case. Any day now, the edits for that book will show up.

Mollie Cox Bryan said...

I know! How crazy is this life series writer's lead. Good crazy. But still. ;-)

Monica Ferris said...

It took me a long time to get to where I could work on editing a manuscript without printing it out. I still sometimes wonder how my stories would work if I did final edits on a printed version.

Betty, I feel your pain!