You Have to Write the Manuscript by Janice L Dick

In a relatively recent mentoring situation, I developed a simple overview of the writing process, as I see it. I also used some of this info for a workshop at the InScribe Conference in 2022.

There are three essential parts: writing, publishing, and marketing. You may be well-versed in some areas but missing other aspects along the way that could make the journey easier. I hope these blogs can teach, remind, and also help us to reapply the basics.

PART ONE: You Have to Write the Manuscript!

A writing group, either local or virtual, is essentially a support group. Connect regularly to share, grow, and overcome that nasty imposter syndrome. Write as regularly as possible.

Do you need a kickstart? Check out the following  links and use what works best for you:

— 3-Act Structure:

— Options for Story Formulas:

*I personally like Nigel Watts’ “8-Stage Plot Structure” from the above options. I can fill in the necessary elements in each section, thereby, giving me direction each day as I create.

— Try NaNoWriMo for a boost. It takes commitment, but you’ll discover how much progress you can make when writing is your priority.

Try Scrivener software, available at Literature & I love this program. It’s user-friendly, inexpensive (about $50) and upgrades regularly. I can write in scenes, title my folders with Nigel Watts’ 8 stages, add and move scenes around, and highlight POV so I have a visual of character balance, to name a few features. There are great resources for learning and Q&A.

Decide on your audience. Create a reader in your mind and write for that person.

What genre does your story idea fit into best? What do you most love to read?

It’s a great idea to keep an information folder of all the details: character specifics, plot arc, settings, weather, time of year, story timeline, brief scene/chapter overviews, etc. You will be glad you did.

One of the most important tasks once your story is done is editing. Read the manuscript aloud to yourself or have your computer read it to you. Ask first readers to give you general comments, beta readers for more specific elements. Hire a professional editor. Use programs such as Grammarly. Or google “words to avoid.” Polish your piece until it’s as flawless as you can make it.

There are a few key steps to take before you go on from here to the actual publishing. You will need a website, if you don’t have one already. Maybe your existing site needs updating. Don’t worry; you can get help with this. I like WordPress and have also subscribed to Bluehost for my site.

Compile a resource kit with your professional author photo, author bio in three lengths (so it’s adaptable to whatever is needed), and the back cover copy of your book. (I especially like the template near the back of James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure for back cover copy.) Have this kit handy when talking to people/venues about your writing.

Create a simple but professional-looking email signature. And you may want to prepare an “Irregular Income Budget” as you begin or carry on in your writing career.

Those are the first steps to professional book publication. Give it a go, and I’ll see you in the next blog to talk about the actual publication.

Janice L. Dick is an award-winning author of six historical novels and three contemporary cozy mysteries. A member of WritersInk in Humboldt SK, InScribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship and Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild, she is also an Advanced Toastmaster Silver. Janice lives and writes from rural Saskatchewan where she lives with her husband.

Blog , , , , , , , , , , , Permalink
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *