Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

December 19, 2008

The Book Process

Filed under: Books — douglaslperry @ 1:32 am

Everyone author has a process that they use to create their work. Those who have written a lot have processes that have evolved over time. As I am in the middle of my third novel I have evolved the following process which works well for me. 

First of all I write longhand. I started using pads of paper, but decided that I didn’t have enough room for notes. I like to write down notes about upcoming scenes or ideas that come to mind as I write a current scene. I migrated to composition books because the left side would be filled with notes, and the right side with text. I found those too hard to keep steady while typing, so I have now made the evolutionary change to spiral bound notebooks that allow me to lay the book flat while typing it in. 

Why longhand? Because ideas seem to flow out of my pen, and get stifled by the keyboard. I haven’t really figured out why that happens yet. I have tried many times to type on the keyboard, but I will get a few tough scenes out on the keyboard and quickly go back to the notebook. 

It seems like double work to some people, but most of the time while typing the manuscript in, I am doing a first level edit. This doesn’t happen all the time, because sometimes I am typing while watching the TV. When that happens I usually just type what I wrote. 

The next step once I have it all typed in, is to do a first level edit. This I can actually do on the keyboard. I read the entire story through and fix the major flaws, move things around, fix typing mistakes, etc. Once I get this completed I print the whole thing out double sided. 

I read the entire manuscript through and scribble changes with a red pen. I go through the manuscript on the computer one more time making the changes that I found on the read thru. 

Now the manuscript is in pretty good shape. Good enough that I can start to read it aloud. Reading it aloud is very important because it allows you to hear the rhythm of the words. You hear when you stop and start so you know where you need to make changes. I print it out one more time and read it aloud to my wife. 

Finally after this whole process is done. I put the book away for at least 3 months. Long enough for me to forget all the details and start on something else. After the time is up I drag the manuscript out again and read it all the way through. That read is usually an awesome experience as reliving the things about the book that got you excited is a great feeling. It also points out the areas that need to be tossed if they don’t inspire you. 

After all those changes are finally complete, I submit it for publication. 

Coming soon. Pre-publication editing.

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1 Comment »

  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing your process!

    I’ve usually been the opposite, where I couldn’t think unless I was using a word processor. But working on this book has taught me the value of paper, too–when I can’t think anymore, I pull out the pen and my notebook. Printing out my chapters and reading them aloud definitely helps me get a better perspective. I haven’t put the entire novel away for months this time around, but I have sections that I’ve let sit for two or three months–enough to know that there is a value in that. For my next book, I’m pre-scheduling time to let it “cure” for a while. 🙂

    Comment by mousewords — December 22, 2008 @ 6:17 pm


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