7 Things a Writer Should Do…

…after you get a beta’s comments back on your WIP.

1. Read them. I took about two days to read and analyze my beta’s very astute comments and then the rest of the time to read through the Track Changes in the document itself.

2. Have a drink. Not because the comments were harsh or bad, but because thinking about the amount of work that has to be done is simply exhausting. Plus, I happened to be out with friends in a place where drinks were readily available.

3. Thank your beta. I feel like this should be a given.

4. Process the experience. Can I just talk to you about college writing workshops for a second? They soured me on the whole workshop/critique/beta thing. Ask my college roommate about my state of mind after workshop—and that’s mostly because in writing programs, they don’t teach you how to approach workshopping someone else’s piece. So then you have people telling you stuff like, “I don’t like your main character.” No explanation. No reason given. So really, having actual constructive crit on my work is mind-bending.

5. Make some decisions. Go on with the piece? (Yes). Take some time off? (I haven’t read it since I sent it, so when I was re-reading it yesterday, I re-read it with fresh eyes.) Am I still feeling the characters or the setting or the initial story? (Yeah, but I’m also prepping for my NaNo project, so my attention is a little divided). Dive in now or later? (I’ll go back to it in December, when NaNo is done. Gives me some time to think about my approach.)

6. Think about a new project. I’ve learned that I’m not much good when not working on a writing project of some kind. I get all tense and extra-anxious and kind of scary-emo when I’m not writing. In this case, the new project is my planned NaNo, which should be fun to write over November. Also, since I seem to be able to outline the NaNo in pretty good detail (something I’ve never had the ability or patience to do before), when December rolls around and I’m ready to get back to the pesky Keegans and their pesky Georgian England problems, maybe I can bring my awesome outlining skills to a new draft.

7. Read through the notes I took as I was researching the book. Mostly because there were details I’ve forgotten by this point, stuff about manumission and potentially bad harvests. Found some new things worth reading as research in the Kindle Store. Think about how much telling vs. showing one does to get a historical period across. Novels aren’t textbooks, after all.

5 thoughts on “7 Things a Writer Should Do…

  1. It's interesting reading about other people's process. Writers can be so different. I tend to be a fast decider when it comes to making changes unless I have to do new research. And even then, I try to figure out what I'm going to do quickly. I can't really get into a new project until I'm done with the old.


  2. My only decisions have been that yes, I'll keeping working on it and that I'm going to wait until December to pick it apart and start again. Other than that, no real story decisions made.


  3. I made pretty quick decisions when I went into the third draft, but draft 4's going to be tougher…and my BrightShinyNewIdea is, well, bright and shiny and easier! Plus, there's a little new research I have to do.


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