Touchy Subjects: When and Where To Use Them

One of the hardest parts of writing is that there will always be someone who has a problem with your work.

When I was on the Write Track Podcast back in July, one of the topics that was brought up on my episode was a growing “cancel culture” in YA literature. For those of you who don’t know what “cancel culture” is, don’t worry. Before that podcast, I had no idea either. I did a bit of research, and what I found honestly startled me. Books with controversial subjects or controversial tropes are being removed from the market often before they even have a chance to get started. While in some cases this can be due to actual bigotry in the writing or in the author’s actions themselves, I found that a decent number of books were being canceled by publishers because people were becoming offended by their subject matter.

One Chinese-American author, Amélie Zhao, had to withdraw her upcoming fantasy novel because she received backlash for the way it approached slavery. In her apology, she stated that her ideas were based on the Asian experience, not the American one. I had a problem with this. I don’t know how the book was written, and honestly, I would need to know that before making a final judgement. But using my historian voice for a second, why do we need to pull something that confronts a different element based in history? If it was well-researched and was adequately told, why should that offend others?

History is messy. We as a country did a lot of horrible things in our past; the world has done a lot of horrible things over the course of human history. Talking about our messy past does more to illuminate it and its horrors; brushing it aside has no inherent value. Absolutely, subjects such as these have to be handled with grace and care, but if we can confront them in writing historical fiction, why not confront it in fantasy as well?

Historically charged issues are not the only subjects that we have to be careful of. Writing about mental health issues, questions of sexuality, or creating a world with seriously skewed politics can spark controversy among readers. But I think as writers, we need to be willing to welcome controversy. We have to be willing to talk about these subjects in order to better understand each other’s points of view on it and grow closer to compromise. We need to be respectful in handling delicate issues, but we don’t need to pre-censor our own writing.

Here are my personal tips for writing about touchy subjects:

#1: Do your research. Writing from experience is always a great place to start. But if you don’t necessarily have applicable personal experience, do your research. Do thorough research. Talk to people. Spend some time browsing the Internet for personal stories, historical summaries, and news articles. I think you can create a main character who has OCD even if you don’t have OCD (using this as an example because I, in fact, do suffer from OCD). But do some research on what people go through with that disorder. Don’t subject your characters to offensive stereotypes. Create nuance. Is it going to take a lot of work? Yes. But you’re a writer. That’s what you’re here for.

#2: Get feedback. Share your work with people in your life who are not afraid to be completely honest and critical about your writing. Preferably people who you know have strong opinions. Opinionated people may be frustrating at times (myself included in that list), but ultimately, you’re going to get honest criticism and feedback. Listen intently to what they have to say. Listen for red flags that you hear from multiple people. Then make a decision on whether you need to adjust your book.

#3: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to explore new ideas and outlets. Even the most honest and kindest of people have their nemeses who want to see them fail. Your honest mistakes do not define you as a person and as a writer. You’ve got supporters in what you do, and you’ve got a supporter in me! Find your people, and write good things.

Happy writing, my friends.

Should You Try Out NaNoWriMo?

Happy NaNoWriMo, my friends!

Yes, it is that time of year again where writers of all ages are buckling down and knocking out 50,000 words of a novel draft. It’s a fantastic month full of creativity, feverish writing, and passion for a new project. I love interacting with other writers and updating my status with my friends as the month goes on. There’s truly nothing better.

This year, I wasn’t sure if I had the availability to take on NaNoWriMo again this year (click here for an account of last year’s experience). I’ve been working on research and interviews for my Book Creator project, academics have ben a whirlwind, and I just started having some free time to myself for the first time all semester. But at the same time, I was itching to get back to the world of the Three Realms and start my second book of the Chasing Fae trilogy, Chasing War. Eventually, I decided to take November 1st as a trial run day, a test to see if I had enough inspiration to write this story from my outline. Friday was incredible; I wrote over 2000 words of fantasy, the most that I had written in the genre since I finished up my final edits of Chasing Fae in July. I couldn’t wait to write more. That’s how I knew I needed to do NaNoWriMo and make it another real time commitment in my life.

I want to encourage all young writers to undertake this challenge this month. Don’t be discouraged that NaNoWriMo has already started; there are plenty of days left to create something amazing.

Is NaNoWriMo Right For You?

Do you have a novel idea that you are burning to write?: If you’ve got an idea that is so perfect that you are just itching to get it down on paper, NaNoWriMo is the place to start.

Have you struggled with following through on an idea in your writing?: If you’re not great with being motivated enough to finish a novel, trust me, NaNoWriMo may be your savior. I wrote story after story throughout my middle and high school years, but the majority of my novels never got finished. I’d write six to eight chapters and then move on to the next new idea. Last year was the first time that I had completed an entire first draft since my first book written when I was 10 (still won’t see the light of day). This challenge really works as motivation. Use it!

Do you need to add another 50k to the project you’re already working on?: Guess what? NaNoWriMo is for you too! Some people choose not to start an entirely new draft in November; they pick one they’ve been meaning to work on and grind steadily along with that idea until it’s complete. There are no limits to what you can achieve.

Don’t let fear of what you can’t do stand in the way of what you could do. Even if you don’t reach your 50,000 word goal, you’ve still taken that first step towards getting your novel finished. Whether it’s 1000 words, 5000 words, or 50,000 words, there’s nothing more important than just starting.

Happy writing, everyone.

Why Are Themes Important In A Story, And How Do I Find Them?

Despite being a writer, I couldn’t stand English classes. We rarely did any creative writing, mainly academic. We read endless books, which for me, wasn’t horrible except when they just weren’t interesting. (Don’t even get me started on Catcher in the Rye. How is this a classic?) I would get in trouble all the time for reading something else from the library during class.

My hugest pet peeve about English classes, however, was ever present: English teachers’ burning desire to always find the themes of a work of literature. I could never understand what the necessity was. Why did it matter so much that I, a 14 year old child, understand the intricacies of what an author intended to drive forward? How did the teachers know if they were even right about the author’s intentions? What if a writer writes just because they want to tell a good story? I just wanted to enjoy a book, not get into endless discussions about imagery or central themes. (Also as an introvert, round table discussions were my nemesis.)

As I began to write, however, I realized that it was possible for both my English teachers and I to be right about themes in writing. As a writer, my initial goal wasn’t to push forward some central idea let alone several themes that would ring true throughout my novel. But as I wrote the story, I realized that certain ideas naturally began to come to the surface and show examples throughout the book. So perhaps themes are important after all because they drive the story in the undercurrent where enjoyment blends into the importance of reading.

Why Are Themes Important?

I am beginning to recognize that themes are important because they capture the heart of your story. They present a moral or a lesson or teach the reader something about themselves or their fellow man. They represent pieces of advice from the author about what’s the best way to live. Themes also allow readers to connect to the story better. Without some truth and something of real world importance and connection to make your readers want to see your characters grow and change, your book will never get picked up off the shelf.

In Chasing Fae, I’m starting to formulate what my themes look like. PSA For future readers of my book, here’s the real answers to what my story stands for.

First and foremost is a lesson about the people who may not look like much, but at the end of the day are much more powerful than one would believe them to be. Don’t underestimate the dark horse. Don’t underestimate the quiet people around you because they just might be doing the most in their lives. I also want to communicate how family is what you make of it: if your family is chaotic and messy, then you can always create your own. Blood only means so much; it’s trust, loyalty, and love that builds the strongest family. I also want to talk about what it means to build up trust in someone and learning to trust.

These themes are still evolving, and I suspect they’ll transform into more clear thoughts as I move through the publishing process.

How Do I Find The Themes in My Story?

Let them come to you.

In my opinion, it doesn’t often work to have three or four ideas for themes right off the bat before you start writing. Perhaps you’ve got a basic idea of what you want your readers to draw from the story, and that’s okay. That’s fantastic, actually; go ahead and run with that. But you don’t have to know right away exactly what kind of messages you want to send to people. Enjoy writing your novel first. That’s the most important thing.

Then, while you’re revising and editing, let yourself start looking beyond the plot and into the heart of the story itself. Trust me, even if you’re not sure you’ll find answers there, somewhere in the revision process you will. They will find you, and most times you’ll realize that’s what you wanted to say all along.

And if it’s not.… change it! It’s your book.

Happy writing!

Questions To Ask Your Beta Readers

Hey everybody! Sorry for my brief disappearance; it has been a crazy week and a half. I was back in my hometown over the weekend to do a performance with alumni from my high school, and then I ended up back at school for a hellish three test week. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to balance five classes. I want to dedicate enough attention to each one, but I definitely feel a little behind. But now I’m back to blog posts! Today, I want to cover some questions that you may want to ask your beta readers when you give them your book.

Beta readers are a crucial component of the writing process because they offer insights into what is working and what isn’t from an outsider’s perspective. You can only read your own book so many times before you become blind to its faults. But in order to figure those out, you need to know what questions are best to ask! So, I’m going to lay out a list of good questions below for you to pick and choose what you really want to know about your story. Feel free to take all of them or select the ones that fit your concerns about your story the best!

Story

  1. Did my story hold your interest throughout the book?
  2. How long did it take you to get hooked into the story?
  3. Was there any point where you felt like the story stalled?
  4. Did you notice any plot inconsistencies that need to be addressed?
  5. Did the dialogue sound natural to you?
  6. Was there enough conflict and intrigue to hold your interest? Are there places would you have liked to see more?
  7. What were your favorite scenes or chapters? Did any section jump at you specifically?
  8. Are the plot twists both believable and unexpected?
  9. How did you feel about the ending?
  10. Do you think the writing style fits the genre?
  11. How was the novel’s pacing?
  12. Was there any point that you put the manuscript down?

Characters

  1. Can you relate to the main character? Do they seem believable? Are you able to see both strengths and weaknesses that make them a well rounded person?
  2. Were there characters that needed to be fleshed out more?
  3. What was your opinion on the villain?
  4. Are the relationships between characters believable?
  5. How do you feel about the main character’s goals? Are they working towards those goals in clear ways throughout the book?

Worldbuilding

  1. Does the world interest you? Does it excite you?
  2. How were my descriptions? Would you like to see more or less of them? Do they need to be more detailed?
  3. Which setting was most memorable to you?

I hope these questions will be useful to all of you tackling this stage in the writing process. Enjoy! Happy writing!

How To Plan Out A Series

One of the most popular ways to write fantasy is through a series. Readers enjoy series because it offers them a chance to stick with the same characters over an extended period of time. They get to watch them evolve through a series of events and become very attached to their survival and happiness. Series keep us on edge every moment, waiting for the next book to come out or waiting for the final conclusion. If you’re thinking about writing a series of your own, here are a few tips to help you out.

Step One: Map Out Your Plot

One of the most important things about writing a great series is making sure that your story can be carried over several books. Now if you’re just starting out with an idea, it can seem like a lot to think about right off the bat. But if you’re looking to plan a series, I imagine you have at least some basic idea of what major events happen when. Use those to understand whether you’ve got enough story.

Think about how many books you want to write. There’s no magic number (although three is quite popular); each story idea is unique. Remember, each book needs to have its own plot arc: a clear purpose that is worked towards over the course of the novel definitively fulfilled at the end. Then on top of that, each book needs to contribute to the overall series arc. The series arc itself also has its own purpose that must be worked towards at each stage. If you can see all of these main elements, congratulations! Your idea has enough substance to write a series.

Step Two: Get To Know Your Characters

I talk all the time about getting to know your characters on an intimate level. I’ve suggested creating character profiles and conducting an in depth interview with your character. When writing a series, this is especially crucial.

Over the course of your books, you’re going to be playing around with multiple important characters and multiple big character arcs. Outside of your main character, several secondary characters are going to have significant arcs that will influence the story. In each book, your main character will go through a change. You have to clearly see that change each time you pick up the next book and introduce a new change that will begin to play out. Your secondary characters will evolve over the course of the series, and each book doesn’t have to have a specific change for them.

In order to accomplish this, you need to absorb your characters’ personalities, motivations, and goals. You need to know them better than you know yourself. Using the tools I’ve linked above will assist you.

Step Three: Consider your world.

Your worldbuilding will need to be detailed enough for your readers to learn new places and new details each time they pick up an installment. Think about the Harry Potter universe and how expansive it is, how J.K. Rowling introduced us to new places and magical aspects every time we picked up one of her books. Take the time to ask questions about your world and dive deep into everything from geography down to individual family life. Your magic system will also need to be built to last as it will be a crucial backbone as your characters move throughout your fantastical universe. Dream as big as you want.

Are you ready to start? Happy writing!

Creating Subplots

A great fantasy story must always incorporate more than just a main plotline. Smaller stories and adventures should be included to give more insight into the characters and build up to the climax of the main story. Subplots tend to show progress and growth in a character without necessarily being part of their main journey or goal. These subplots can focus on the main character and their secondary goals or a secondary character and their own storyline. All subplots should relate back to the main plot and intersect the story in some way. That could mean relating back to the main themes or showing progress in the characters that are essential to the main journey.

Types of Subplots

There is a wide variety of subplots to choose from when looking at your own novel. Here are a few useful ones to recognize:

  • One of the most common and most recognizable subplots are romantic subplots. The main character falls in love with a secondary character who in turn reveals a lot of intimate information about the former character’s motivations, dreams, and personality traits. Romantic subplots are often the easiest to incorporate into most genres; with fantasy, they tend to walk hand in hand.
  • Another solid subplot idea for fantasy is something brewing in the political world. My own book explores this in the way of political tension, subverting alliances, and the constant presence of impending war. This subplot is often a great way to bring in detailed worldbuilding and historical background into your story.
  • It is always a great idea to show conflict between main and secondary characters. This can include a conflict with a villain that perhaps exists on the fringes of your main plot or an argument with a friend or lover that changes the main character’s course. These subplots add depth to your characters and often can have a transformative effect on a character’s psyche.
  • Anything that showcases a character’s strengths, flaws, and motivations can be incorporated into the story as a subplot. You’re not limited to the types of ideas I’ve listed above.

A Tip On Identifying and Incorporating Subplots

When I finished the first draft of Chasing Fae, one of things I did was take several sheets of paper and draw out several large arcs. I then went through my book and labeled each event of the main plot on one arc. On the next few, I took some time to pick out the events in my novel that didn’t connect directly to the main storyline. Those, I then was able to sort and begin to create some subplot arcs. Wherever I saw gaps, I made notes on what to write to fill them in to make my subplots complete. The final arc I used to create a character arc so I could definitively see how Grace changed and grew over the course of the entire novel. If there wasn’t a logical jump between one point and another, I created a new event to add in my second draft and create a new subplot off of that.

I would highly recommend this method if you’re having trouble identifying what kind of subplots you want to incorporate or what subplots you already have brewing. It also serves as a great tool to break your story down and really gain a deep understanding of your characters and your plot.

I hope this has been helpful. Happy writing!

Writer’s Review: AutoCrit

When in search of great writing software, I happened across AutoCrit during NaNoWriMo 2018. This website was running a contest that offered three months free membership to any NaNoWriMo contestant that signed up for their newsletter. While I didn’t win, an opportunity to purchase a lifetime membership for a reasonable price popped up unexpectedly. I snapped it up, and today, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about this revision software.

First Things First, what does AutoCrit do?

AutoCrit is an editing software that helps to edit your novel in a multitude of ways. Through its unique analysis process, you can instantly get editing suggestions about everything from word choice, to active vs. passive words, and even pacing. It takes into account all of the most popular books of a particular genre and their writing styles and uses those to evaluate where your story falls stylistically within that genre. You can even compare your book directly to the writing style of a particular author. For fantasy, I know J.K Rowling is an option as well as Sarah J. Maas, my favorite author of all time. The suggestions that AutoCrit churns out are really genre-specific, something that I don’t think any other editing software can give.

Best Features

Pacing and Momentum Report – I love this one immensely because of how accurate it is. You can see very clearly where your slow paragraphs are in your story, and you can see whether you’re actively moving the story along with what you’re writing.

Adverbs Report: Do you feel like you’re using too many adverbs in your writing? If yes, this is going to change your life. It shows you graphs of your most frequently used adverbs and how many per chapter. The software also shows you if your use of adverbs is average or above average or below average for your genre. It’s a really great indicator of where your writing stands in its current state. It will even show you the exact number to get rid f to make it fall into traditional bestseller standards.

If you don’t think you’re using too many adverbs…. trust me. You are.

Clichés Report – Are you worried that your book may contain too many cliché phrases? AutoCrit will weed them out for you and mark where they are in your story. Super useful for a second and third draft.

When should I use this?

I used AutoCrit primarily for my third and fourth drafts after I had gotten feedback from a few beta readers. While I was implementing their suggestions, I began to focus on word choice more heavily than I had in the past edits. AutoCrit was the best tool for identifying the weaknesses in my writing that I, myself, as a new writer was unfamiliar with what to even look for. It pointed out clear successes and clear failures that I could then adjust to until it was where I wanted it to be.

This software does not edit for you. Every change you want to make, you make yourself. It does not implement anything for you. What it does is point out specific areas for you to improve on and make specific suggestions to improve your writing. I couldn’t be happier with it.

Pricing

The plan that I personally use and would recommend is the Professional Plan. This grants you unlimited word count and access to all of the features I mentioned above, plus a lot more. This is the plan that’s going to best suit the author. Going with the basic plan leaves you only working with 1000 words at a time (which could not work). Going with the elite offers you weekly lessons, tips and tricks from industry professionals, and marketing help once you publish. But until you’re ready for that stage or you really want some more professional assistance, I would suggest the Professional Plan. It currently runs for $30 per month. But AutoCrit is often running discounts, so be on the lookout.

As always, happy writing!

Writing Sex Scenes

When you’re working with a romance subplot in a fantastical universe, it is entirely probable that you will run into the questions that many writers face when creating a believable relationship.

Should I incorporate a sex scene? Where is it appropriate and where is it not? How do I create something that’s going to flow well and not sound absolutely ridiculous?

Despite my age, I’ve had a decent amount of run-ins with sex in literature, and I can absolutely tell when something sounds good and when it sounds like the author is trying way too hard. Or sometimes not enough. If done right, it can add a fiery or finessed detail to your character relationships that can allow one or more to develop and change. Sex means a great many things to a lot of different people. Just as people navigate those meanings in reality, your characters can have the opportunity to explore them on the pages of your novel. Here are some tips and tricks to help you create the perfect sensual moment.

Tip #1: Make sure your scene fits your audience.

Sex in middle grade novels is never acceptable. Let’s get that tidbit out of the way first. Easy enough to remember. When it comes to young adult vs. adult, the lines begin to blur a bit. Some prefer YA books to have more sublte sex scenes that consist of maybe a few lines to get the point across or enough language in a longer scene that it’s not incredibly explicit. Others don’t care if YA has more explicit sex scenes. Adult books can usually run the gamut including tipping into the heavier, way too much for YA kind of explicit.

Tip #2: Keep it real.

Please please please. Keep your sex scenes real. Don’t come up with ridiculous positions that would put obvious physical strain on any characters. Keep your timeline of initiation to foreplay to penetration realistic. But at the same time, don’t feel like you have to be stereotypical. Every couple has their own process and their own style of having sex, even if they have just met and it’s a quick hookup.

If you’ve got a spouse or are in a long-term relationship, try out your scene in the bedroom! Draw inspiration from your sex life. If this isn’t your thing, fanfiction is your friend. Searching your favorite pairings from books, TV shows, or movies in some of the most popular fanfiction platforms (fanfiction.net, archiveofourown.org, etc.) can yield some fantastic steamy stories. You can find one-shots to short chaptered stories to full length manuscripts. Trust me, you can INSTANTLY tell the difference between well written scenes with any kink you can imagine and absolutely horrible prose. And I mean, horrible. Scar you for life kind of horrible writing.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tip #3: Use the right langague.

“His engorged member” is not the right language to use.

Why, why do writers choose to embellish body anatomy and sexual acts with ridiculous words that when put together, conjure some very weird mental images?

Just tell it like it is. Don’t excessively embellish your descriptions. Point A to Point B can be communicated with detail without being flowery and ultimately, unrealistic.

Have fun with it!

Happy writing!

Reference List of Writing Resources

This list will expand as I encounter new programs and websites.

Character Building

Epiguide’s Character Chart for Fiction Writers: A detailed chart that allows a writer to dive into a character’s appearance, personality, and daily life.

Labotomy of A Writer – Epic Character Questionnaire: A comprehensive interview to conduct with your character. Highly recommended.

Worldbuilding

SFWA Worldbuilding Questions: A comprehensive set of worldbuilding questions that cover a wide range of categories to fully immerse a writer in the world they want to create.

World Anvil: A place to create an encyclopedia of your world through articles, profiles, and other posts. Both a free and a paid service.

Outlining

Iulian Ionescu – Master Outlining and Tracking Tool: A high powered outlining tool that allows a writer to summarize their book and split that summary into 81 scenes to aid in the plotting process.

Drafting

Marissa Meyer’s blog post series From Idea to Finished: An article series that walks a writer through the process of writing from the idea all the way through the publication process.

Scrivener: A word-processing program designed specifically for the writer. Combines a research binder, an outlining board, and a typewriter.

Google Docs: My preferred word processor.

Revisions

How To Edit Your Novel – The Ultimate Crash Course: A crucial guide for understanding the editing process and how to tackle it.

Autocrit: An online book editor for fiction writers that analyzes your writing in the context of your genre and gives you specific tips to improve your prose.

Grammarly: An online grammar and spell checker perfect for writers of any profession.

The Revision Process

The revision process, for me, was actually more fun to me than writing your first draft.

Now hear me out.

During your first draft, it’s all chaos. You’re writing to get the story on the page. Of course your work is creative and a beautiful story, but it is in its rawest form. It’s at the worst it’s ever gonna be. So, the revision process allows you to truly create, to embellish and to detail every element of your novel. From the plot, to the characters, and the world, not a single detail remains untouched.

Everyone revises differently. Some people like to do three drafts; some want to do at least six. I couldn’t find a lot of really solid information out there about how to revise most effectively. Until I found this guide. I would highly reccomend most of the materials on this website. Writers Edit walks through a lot of writing concepts and practices similarly to what I do. This guide got me through the revision process. My article today is going to take it down to its bare bones and some of the modifications that I made to it to fit me best. Read their article if you’re looking for more in depth details.

Distance

Your first job as a writer is to separate yourself from your work for a period of time. This allows you to approach the work from a fresh perspective. Many sources reccomend a month to six weeks; if you’re an eager writer like me, I managed to make it two and a half weeks before jumping in. And that worked well for me. Make sure you give at least two weeks at the bare minimum. Trust me. It really helps.

First Readthrough

Sit down with your first draft and read it in its entirety. It’s best to do this in one sitting if you can, but never more than two. You want to see the novel’s arc and how events fit together, and it can be hard to do that if your reading is too fragmented. While you’re reading, take notes on each scene or chapter. Make notes about what each section is about, the characters that play a major role, and what the main goal of that scene or chapter is. Also note any changes that you’d like to make. Focus on major or medium-sized changes, but if you see something small that will bug you if it’s not fixed, write that down too.

When you finish reading, analyze the notes you’ve made about each scene. Do some seem out of place? Could some be rearranged or even eliminated entirely?

Second Draft

Take the time to make all of the changes that you want to make. Go down your list. Personally, I like to work chronologically starting from the first chapter through to the end. Your second draft should take you a decent amount of time to finish. Take your time to get the core elements right. Your draft should absolutely transform.

Beta Reader #1

Once your second draft is finished, I would reccomend sending your draft to a first beta reader. Pick someone that you can trust with your work, whether that’s someone you know personally or someone you meet through a writing group or the Twitter #WritingCommunity. A note: if you pick someone close to you, make sure they have the guts to give you real harsh criticism. Beta readers need to give you honest feedback, and family and friends can sometimes sugarcoat the truth in order not to hurt your feelings. Remember, criticism only gives you the opportunity to grow. I was lucky enough that my boyfriend is one of those people who gives honest criticism and feedback. I couldn’t have been happier for him to be the first person to see my work.

Also, set a time limit in which to have it back to you. Two weeks is usually a good time frame. Also be prepared to be flexible if needed.

Third Draft

The third draft is the best time to make edits that your beta reader has suggested as well as to hone in on the details. If your beta reader suggests major changes, insert another draft before this one where you focus on making those edits. Sometimes separating major from minor helps writers to focus on what matters most in their own time. If most of their suggestions are medium to minor sized changes, all you need is this third draft. While you’re at it, think about bringing out key moments in the story to the forefront, particularly in your worldbuilding. If details that you’ve created have gotten lost in the shuffle, add them back into your story. If a character is missing a key trait, incorporate it back in. This is another chance to enhance and embellish. Don’t waste it.

Second Readthrough

Read through your new draft a second time, making notes similar to your first readthrough.  A lot may have changed, so don’t half-ass it.

Fourth Draft

Make the changes you thought of in your second readthrough. Very simple.

Beta Reader #2 (Or maybe even #3)

Time to hand over your work to a second beta reader. My suggestion is to pick someone who has an entirely different reading or editing style than your previous beta reader. Branch out within your genre’s readers. You want to make sure your book appeals to a wide range of people. That’s why I would also reccomend even selecting a third beta reader to read simultaneously.

Fifth Draft

Make the changes your beta reader or readers suggested.

Final Readthrough/Grammar Check

Make one final readthrough on your computer. You can make any small changes that you want to regarding word choice and grammar as you read along. Consider having a grammar editor running as you do so you can catch mistakes easier. BUT DO NOT RELY ON IT FULLY. It does not catch everything, as I discovered. Force yourself to go slowly and steadily, reading every word and every comma and period. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you’re submitting to literary agents.

And there you have it! You’ve made it through the full revision process. Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back and get to querying!