Mary Burton’s Draft Process and Me

 Yesterday, I wrote about my experiences following Mary Burton’s draft process on the Killer Hobbies blog. For those of you following it from this blog, here’s an update.

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, 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 enjoy the, 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.

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