Calling All Novel Writers! #NeedYourHelp #AmWriting

Hey! Writer Peeps! I have a couple of questions for you…

#AmWriting

I’m another 2,700 words in on my WIP. Things have developed in ways I hadn’t even planned, but in a good way.

I tend to edit on the way, but am conscious that I will need to print a paper copy out to do the fine editing.

My questions:

  • Do you save each chapter as a separate document or the whole story as one block with chapter breaks?

  • Would you arrange for Beta readers once you have done your own edit, or do you think it needs a professional eye first?

I can’t believe that I am seriously that close to finishing!

Eeeeek!

 

96 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bhumika Singh
    Apr 15, 2018 @ 07:22:10

    I write chapters as separate files. But I’m simultaneously keeping them in one doc file as the whole book. It helps when you want to work on one particular chapter or part, you can always cut and paste the edited version in the block document.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Geetha B
    Apr 10, 2018 @ 19:47:58

    Congratulations for having made it that far together with your hectic schedule and all that you seem to do. I would save as one document with chapter breaks. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Ritu
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 21:08:04

    Exactly !!! Lol!

    Like

    Reply

  4. robbiesinspiration
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 18:17:11

    I save mine as one document, Ritu, but I write for children so the files are not that big. I am very excited for your that you doing so well with your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Hugh's Views and News
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 14:18:31

    I always save my book as a whole document but saving each chapter separately sounds like a great idea.
    I’d have a professional edit done first before sending it to beta readers, otherwise, they are likely to highlight every mistake. However, on the other side of the coin, once you make any changes, you’ll have to have another edit done. Swings and roundabouts situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Gary
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 08:31:51

    Hi Ritu, first off, brilliant wrt getting so close you’re asking this question. #awesome.

    I write on my iPad so am mobile. I draft each chapter separately then upload them to Dropbox to merge into a manscript template that’s preformatted in the way editors and proofreaders want. I use word to run through to catch base errors, but me being me, have a couple of beta readers I use straight away on a raw draft. Their remit is to just read and look at the story. Does it work, could it work, is the overall plot OK. Nothing to do with editing or checking. It gives me a month away from the manuscript and I use them to ensure I’m not barking up a dead tree. Editing is a tough, but necessary process so I like to make sure the book is worth it.

    If the feedbacks good then I run over it it twice. Printed out on single sides, double spaced. Chews a lot of paper agreed, but for me I find it easier to make notes on typos etc on the double spacing and use the blank side for notes relating to things I needs to address. After that I get it proofed.

    As another person says, we are not the best people to edit or proof our own work. Way too close to it. My way is aimed at agents and publishers. Getting it proofed removes a great deal of bad grammar and much more. If you land a publisher or agent then full blown editing will occur then.

    If self publishing I’d get it edited professionally, before proofing.

    All very exciting 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. sidrawritez
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 06:09:56

    Hi Ritu,
    All fantastic advice here. My tuppence worth would be to let it sit for a while. This I got from Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ which I found an excellent read and highly recommend. You are then the best editor for your own work. From the writer, you become the reader and hopefully you’ll look at it in a new light. Other than that, congratulations! Well done for nearly finishing that all-important first draft!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 05, 2018 @ 08:10:02

      Thank you so much! It is so close to the end now!
      To be honest, I started it 18 years ago. life got in the way then I rekindled my romance with it. After re-reading what I had written, I knew it was worth continuing.
      Last August, I staged my own personal writing challenge, as August is the only month in the year I am not teaching and, with my kids older, I could concentrate more. I added over 50,000 words to it. Still not finished, but so much done! I was mentally and emotionally exhausted after that, and couldn’t even bear to look at it.
      I reread a lot of it this week, 7 months later, and in all honesty, I was really excited to read it, and came away from it with a big smile on my face. That gave me the push to write more! Encouragement from my 10 and 12 year old has helped! I have read appropriate bits to them, and they say kids are honest, and they seem to have enjoyed it too!
      I’m hoping all these are good signs, and maybe, before the end of this Easter break, before I’m back to teaching, I might just have a completed first draft on my hands!!!!

      Thanks for the encouragement!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • sidrawritez
        Apr 05, 2018 @ 08:42:32

        Wow that sounds like an amazing journey Ritu!! Thanks for sharing, it’s very inspiring to hear! I love the fact that you came away with a big smile on your face after your re-read 7 months later. And of course, children can be the biggest and most honest critics. Sounds like it’s all going in the right direction. I look forward to the day we can all have a read! Good luck with the ending and take care xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 05, 2018 @ 08:45:10

        Thank you so much 💗

        Like

  8. Jennie
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 00:01:21

    The whole thing, but that is a children’s book. Still, that’s my lean.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. dornahainds
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 22:56:51

    I would save as 1 document, separately titled with chapters, then use Beta readers before seeking professional assistance. You can always return to your work for further edits, then seek higher judgment of your final work. 😎🥀

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  10. NotTheOneWhoLovedMe
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 22:41:19

    I usually save one document with chapter breaks (makes it much easier to find though from time to time is a pain to scroll through)

    Beta readers are best I think so that the “professional eye” can know your serious. If the beta readers are good enough they will catch the same stuff the professional would and save you future trouble.

    Though I agree with LucciaGrey there’s not really a right way to do it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  11. LucciaGray
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 22:28:51

    What works best for me is writing a complete outline in one document which I eventually (at about 10-15k words when the whole idea is clear to me) divide into chapters with numbers and names (working titles that help me focus) and page breaks, so I can go back and forwards easily on the same doc.
    Beta readers before editor/proof reader, although I’ve polished it as much as possible, that’s why they’re ‘betas’. Arcs after final edits. Hope this helps!
    There is no right way to do it. King and Follet have completely opposed writing processes and both produce great books!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 05, 2018 @ 07:50:29

      Thank you Luccia!
      My outline and working plot is on my big board I created last summer! My notebook has all my handwritten notes, and I have written, on and off, on one document since I started in 2000! ( A lot more off than on, as you can tell by the length of time it’s taken me!) I try to edit as I go along, and I read the words out aloud, to my kids or to myself, to catch certain errors. I know I will do a big re-read when I am finished with the first draft, and then yes, will look for the relevant beta readers!!!
      Thank you for your advice!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • LucciaGray
        Apr 05, 2018 @ 09:43:42

        Sounds like your novel is well on its way to completion! If I dared to give you my two cents, it’s to get on with it! Finish it asap. There’s no real rush, but a writer needs lots of books (some have said about 4-5) to find your voice/place/style/literary persona etc. Although some debut novels (are they all really debut written or debut published?) are fabulous, I suggest that the only way to be a writer is to read a lot and write a lot. So write it! Goid luck❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 05, 2018 @ 09:50:43

        Definitely read lots! And writing creatively regularly on my blog! Hope that all counts!!!! Thank you 😊

        Like

  12. indishe
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 19:50:10

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. April Munday
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 19:15:50

    I save it all in one file.

    Your second question rather depends on the type of editor you’re thinking of. If it’s proofreading, it’s the last thing that should happen before the book is published. If it’s developmental, it should happen before the beta readers see it.

    These days I only print a copy after the first draft. Everything else is done on screen. A paper copy has the advantage that you don’t even need to switch your computer on to work on it, so you can’t be distracted, in theory. You’ve confessed your phone addiction, though, so you might need to put it in another room while you edit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Ritu
      Apr 04, 2018 @ 19:49:48

      I’ve been pretty good with my phone while writing so I guess I could do it!
      I may get someone I know and trust to read it raw first to get ideas of any issues. Tweak it. Then beta readers. Then professional edit.
      Thanks April 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  14. Erika Kind
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 18:43:41

    Wow, almost there, sis!! This is exciting! I saved everything as one document. As soon as you are fine with your book I would do the editing first in order to give the beta reader the best possible idea of how the book might be like.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Sandra J. Jackson
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 18:07:12

    I save it all as one book. I edit first then have beta readers read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 04, 2018 @ 18:13:16

      So your own edit then beta read? Do you go for a professional one too?

      Like

      Reply

      • Sandra J. Jackson
        Apr 04, 2018 @ 23:25:52

        So I edit on my own then send it to the beta reader. When it comes back, I may makes some more changes/edits depending on if the reader noticed any errors. With my former publisher, they had editors. However, when my last book was returned from the editor, I noticed a couple of obvious errors (I think the person they used rushed through it as it took a looong time to get back). These errors worried me and I ended up going over the whole thing. I used Hemingway editor (free) and the free version of grammarly to help me. Once it was done, I sent it back for publishing. My new publisher also has editing. When they received the manuscript they sent it back with only a few typos. My next book, however, I am sending it to an editor after my first edits. He is also an author but has an editing business. He does creative editing as well as grammar editing and he told me I didn’t need the later as my grammar skills were quite good. I can give you his information if you wish. He’s in Napal right now but will be back by the end of the month. Also, I just heard of a site called prowritingaid.com. I haven’t checked it out yet but will. Apparently it is better than grammarly, however there is a cost and I believe it’s $50 (US probably) but not sure if that’s a one time thing or yearly or what. Good luck and let me know if you want the info on the editor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 05, 2018 @ 07:58:39

        Thank you so much Sandra!
        I do have Grammarly, which is pretty straight forward, and I invested in ProWriting Aid. It can be quite daunting to use though! I think I will look at my words through that later.
        The thing with writing a novel is that it picks up a lot of quirks that are actually necessary in dialogues, and I am using some punjabi words so I know I’ll never get a clean bill! As a writer, and English Graduate, my grammar tends to be pretty good, most of the time, I think It is more the actual content, whether it flows, for a reader and if it makes sense, or if I have waffled for no reason that I will need help with!
        And yes, the info on your creative editor would be good to have!
        Thank you again!

        Like

      • Sandra J. Jackson
        Apr 06, 2018 @ 00:06:00

        That’s the great thing about dialogue, people speak with accents, throw in other languages sometimes, and have poor grammar. You can have your character say “Him and John went to the store” instead of the correct way of “He and John went to the store” ’cause that how people talk. Grammar in dialogue doesn’t have to be perfect. Before I decided to write, I took an online grammar course through a college. It helped tremendously and my final grade was 90%. Ron Bagliere is the editor you might want to contact. As I said he offers creative editing as well as grammatical editing. Here’s his website https://rjbagliere.com/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 06, 2018 @ 08:39:15

        Thank you so much for that Sandra!!!! I know the dialogue is a tricky one, but I say all my speech out aloud, to see whether it sounds right too!!!

        Like

      • Sandra J. Jackson
        Apr 06, 2018 @ 10:56:16

        I do that too and sometimes act things out. When you edit (and maybe you know this already) read out loud. You will catch things you don’t necessarily catch reading to yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 06, 2018 @ 11:06:19

        Yes I’ve realised that is a great tool!

        Like

  16. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:55:57

    I save in one document. I would have beta readers read it first and then get a professional edit if you can afford. Hope that helps Ritu. Good luck and once your published do come on my blog for a blog tour/author interview! All the best. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. fancypaperblog
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:13:21

    Well done Ritu! I am no help- sorry. Very excited for you though.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. pranabaxom
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 14:55:02

    I have not written a book, so my advise will be superfluous but still would give one. Avoid your betterhalf as a beta reader(not that I am doubting his ability😃).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. trentpmcd
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 14:05:29

    For a novel I save as one work. I save every day to a different file (name-workingdarft-date). I am putting mine out for beta read before professional edit. (I just put my WIP for beta-reading on Monday – look at my blog if interested 😉 ) From my POV, beta readers might catch large scale issues and let me know if things don’t make sense, while I want to use a professional to catch all of the little mistakes. If I have to make a lot of changes based on reader feedback, I don’t want to send it off to the professional editor for a second (expensive) review! And I am sending the new work to a Pro – I had a couple of people help me edit my last book and i skipped the pro – later I went back and found hundreds of errors 😦 Also, if you are just finishing up, put it away and sit on it for a while. Then go through and edit yourself before sending to beta-readers. My WIP went through three rewrites and a dozen minor revisions before i felt ready to send it to beta-readers.

    I’m just a beginner, but I hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 04, 2018 @ 15:19:34

      All your advice helps Trent! I think, because I’m so close to my first draft finish, I’m panicking already about the next step… releasing my baby to the public!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • trentpmcd
        Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:44:50

        Yep, I get it – releasing your baby is very scary! I hate to tell you, though – finishing the first draft is the easy and least time consuming part of the process 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ritu
        Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:46:27

        Its taken me 18 years… don’t say that! It’ll be published post humously lol!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd
        Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:50:13

        lol. Maybe in your case the writing part is the long, hard part…I hope so, for your sake! I write fast, I guess 😉 I wrote my WIP in a month. I’ve spent quite a few months editing and revising. And the editing isn’t nearly as fun as writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 04, 2018 @ 16:54:47

        I tend to edit as I go so hopefully it won’t be too painful. It’s more glaring plotholes that I need to check on… and continuity!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. TanGental
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 13:31:21

    Ok my four pennies. I edit on screen, paper and I read it out loud. Every different way highlights different errors and there will be loads. The professional edit has come at different times but since I want the polished final typo free version I always get a prof edit done last thing so my preference is at the end or it’s two prof edits. Betas for all their qualities don’t pick up those errors like a pro. If you have a lot of betas then spilt before and after the prof edit perhaps. That said don’t have too many betas or you could be swamped with ideas and get lost. Ideally you’ll have one that writes in or loved your genre one who doesn’t usually go there and one or two who have a fondness for it. Try, if this is the first time, to chose someone you’re not too close to. You need them to be firm but fair and not friendly.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 04, 2018 @ 13:42:05

      That is all great advice. Thank you His Geoffleship! I’ve been reading bits out aloud to my kids and correcting things that sound wrong. I’ll get there soon!

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply

  21. OIKOS™-Redaktion
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 13:12:24

    Reply

  22. Judith Barrow
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 12:30:12

    Hi Ritu, and well done.I don’t ever do a paper copy to edit; I work on screen only. I keep the whole ms – I don’t separate into chapters – to much of a faff, I imagine, having to go back and forth from one file to another (and, I could get mixed up – easily done for me). I edit (and change,which makes me such a slow writer!! ) as I go along, unless I’m on a roll!! My publisher sees to the editing but all I will say about Beta readers (and I’m sticking my neck out here) is choose wisely; know their work, admire their work, trust their judgement. And don’t ask to many people!! I have one friend who I trust to let me know if something works- and I only ask her when I’m completely stuck on a point. Believe in yourself, Ritu and if you need a proof reader at the end I would say research (I’ve worked on my one Indie published book with @JuliaProofreader – brilliant and reasoable ). Good luck, Judith
    x

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  23. Teagan R. Geneviene
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 12:16:58

    Wow, Ritu — it sounds like the book is really coming along.
    I have my own “system” of using Word to track things and make notes as I go. Since I do that, I work directly from the template I’ve made for my print copy books — and save all the chapters there. Yes, I edit along the way, because I’m always going back to add a clue or fix something that should have gone elsewhere. That’s just what works for me.

    Keep writing. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. barbtaub
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 12:08:58

    Congrats, good luck, and what is this thing you call “paper copy”? I just got a big monitor…that way there’s no chance that I’ll mess up one thing by correcting another. (Cause I’m totally capable of that!)

    I’m not the best one to answer the other questions because my wonderful publisher has even more wonderful editors. But I can say that as a reviewer, I won’t read anything that hasn’t been professionally edited.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  25. colinandray
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 12:07:34

    Hi Ritu – My books (2 published + i in progress) have all been drafted as complete documents with chapter breaks/page breaks as necessary, and have never been printed for editing purposes.
    My suggestion is to use selected Beta readers as well as a professional edit however, not at the same time! I assume you know that the author is the least qualified person to edit their own book?
    As a matter of perspective, the book in progress (co-authored) has been in the editing cycle since December last year. Editing is a time consuming and frustrating process, but the end result is dependant on it.
    If I can help any further, please email me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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