Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My review process

A while back, I wrote about finding a trusted reader and how to get useful feedback for your work. I promised to talk about my own review process, but I never got around to doing so. Until now.

Before I explain how I work, I have to give an important disclaimer: This is the way I work. I'm not advocating it for anyone else, and I'm not guaranteeing it'll work for you. It works for me.

When I start a book, other than telling the title I basically refuse to talk to anyone about it. If Publisher Toni pushes hard enough, I may give her a sentence or two overall description, but if I do, it'll be vague. When I've finished the plot, I may show it to Dave and ask for his feedback. I say "may" because I did that with the first three Jon and Lobo novels but not the fourth.

After that, no one sees it until I've completed two drafts. Every now and then, at a reading or on this blog or on a phone call, a wild notion may seize me and I may read a paragraph or even a chapter aloud, but those are exceptions and always unpredictable.

When I've finished the second draft, I print two copies: one for me, and one for Dave, who kindly gives me his feedback.

By the way, Dave is David Drake, whom I'm fortunate enough to count as a close friend. If you're just starting out as a writer, the odds are slim that you have a top-selling novelist and superb plotter as an available resource. In this area, I definitely have an unusual advantage.

That's it, though. The only person to whom I show the book in anything other than ready-to-publish form is Dave. The next time anyone sees it is when Publisher Toni opens her email and finds it waiting for her.

Again, this is only what works for me. The important thing is to write and to complete what you write. If a very different process helps you finish your work, by all means embrace it.

4 comments:

J. Griffin Barber said...

Dave is a prince.

Mark said...

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but he is a true and fast friend.

J. Griffin Barber said...

And as such, a prince among princes. Such friendship is not the norm, else we would all be surrounded by well-wishers and supporters who understand _all_ of us.

Mark said...

Fair points.

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