WELCOME TO ALL THINGS BRI
This post on Writing and Preparing a Serial for Publication is all about knowing when to let your manuscript go. The Final Edit phase is always the most difficult for me, but I’ve learned a few strategies for tackling it head on.
But, first, to start this final phase, I send out my Revision-Edit draft to my Critique Partners.
A Note on CPs: My CPs and my betas never overlap. I want my CPs to read my manuscript for the first time after my Revision-Edit Draft. Fresh eyes at this stage are invaluable.
I also send a short letter to my CPs, asking for critiques on specific items of concern, including the following:
🗡️ Unclear story stakes
🗡️ Unclear emotions / character motivations
🗡️Awkward or clunking exposition / worldbuilding
At this stage, I’m not looking for suggestions about adding / removing scenes or altering the plot in major ways and I’m clear about that with my CPs. My Beta Readers already provided notes on Structural Edits and I’ve already implemented those in my First Draft.
So, once my CPs read and send their notes, I integrate their suggestions and revise one final time, to create my Final Draft.
This is where I run into major trouble. As a perfectionist, I constantly pick my draft apart, searching for errors and in doing so, I teach myself to hate my work. Once, I actually came to despise a project so thoroughly that I abandoned it after months of work.
This summer though, I took an incredible course that’s helping me break this habit. Long Story Short (from @amaraluciano_) gave me an treasure trove of info and insight. I learned that when I approach my work as a perfectionist, I’m not loving what I’ve created. I’m not looking to make it better. Instead, I’m critically clawing through my words and hating my mistakes, as if to prove that I have no idea what I’m doing as a writer. It’s an ugly, mean thing.
Since the class, I’ve focused on lovingly revising my draft to help it become the book it’s meant to be. And when I finished edits on Episode One, I let it go and sent it out for line edits. Once it’s formatted, I’ll review it a final time for any other minor corrections.