Sherry Soule's Writing Process

A lot of people ask me about my writing process, so today I’m going to chat about it. This post may help some of you and others may think I’m a tad wacky. Although, the latter might be true…

Anyhoo, here’s my method, and this advice is good for all those indie authors  or unpublished writers just starting out. Please take it to heart!! 

First off, I use Word 2010 to create my masterpieces (I can call them that if I want to!) and I should mention that I also use some writing software. For me it takes about 4 to 6 months to finish a novel.  

Once I finish a second draft,  I find at least 2 beta readers that I can convince to read my drivel. With their feedback, I revise. If I get writers block or can’t think of a clever way to describe something. I go to Internet and read online poetry. Much better. Now I’m full of pretty prose and ideas. Revise again. I’ll continually do this until the story is finished.

Next I put each chapter into the AutoCrit Wizard. Can’t say enough about this amazing software. It catches a lot of overused words and phrases, passive and telling words, info-dumps, dialogue tags, etc. Okay, so after I paste in my chapter and go through each tab, I revise the text. Then I paste it into the Wizard a second time to make sure I’ve successfully reduced the problem areas.

When I finish that, I upload the entire manuscript into a different software program that I equally love. It is Serenity Software and it’s awesome. It finds clichés, redundant phrases, spelling errors, and offers alternatives, which is great, and suggestions on polishing up wordy areas. (It is worth it for the redundant phrase finder alone.) Then I save the report and do a search for all of the redundant phrases in my MS. Sometimes the report can be 25 to 50 pages long. But I go through and revise them all. This takes about two to three days.

Now it is time for my Crit Partners to review my work. With my CPs, I usually exchange chapters at a pretty fast rate. Two a week.

When I’m done exchanging chapters with my CPs, I start listening to the entire manuscript read out loud on my computer. If I catch an error, typo or a missing word, I pause the program and then fix the problem. Sometimes I’ll re-listen to a scene of dialogue several times until it flows smoothly before moving onto the next section of text. A very tedious chore, but one I cannot recommend highly enough to new writers. As a freelance editor, I always advise my clients to do this, and I can always tell when they have not. Plus, it will turn your dialogue into magic…

Once all of the above is completed, I hire a freelance developmental editor to critique the MS. After the editor had completed their critique and send it back to me, I revise again. I cannot stress enough how important it is for indie authors to hire professional editors to review your work BEFORE you publish.

After I finish my final revisions, I will listen to the entire story read out loud on my computer.

Then, drum roll please…the MS is ready for publication.

So the next time someone says to you, “So, you just sit home and write?” Please smack them upside the head once for me. Not only is writing a long process, its damn hard work to get a well-crafted manuscript ready to be viewed by the public. 

Do like Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance? 

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  1. My goodness! This is a REALLY helpful guide for aspiring authors. Thank you for posting this! :D

  2. Such an interesting post! AutoCrit and Serenity both look really good. (I know what to ask for for my birthday!) Thanks for this post.
    Question: How do you make Docs read it back to you?

  3. Hi Riv! I use free NaturalSoft. (The voices are very natural sounding.)

  4. This is certainly a reminder of how overwhelming the process of writing a novel (that one can be proud of) truly is, but your generosity in offering these tips helps to make it seem just that little more achievable. Thanks so much!

  5. I sincerely hope my advice helps unpublished writers (seeking an agent) and indie authors!

  6. Great post, I found the links super helpful!

  7. We pretty much have the same process. How cool! Except I listen to it on my Word and have been wanting to buy a more natural sounding and was going to go with Natural Read but been putting it off cuz it still sounded robotic to me. Going to def check out NaturalSoft! Thank you!

    And yeah. such tedious work. I just finished second round of edits of my WIP and it takes a whole lot of time to search for overused words and post chapter by chapter to autocit. But it's so worth it!

    Oh and thanks for the editor recommendations.

  8. I have a question. You use Natural Soft. Is this Natural Reader? I went to click on the download and it was Natural Reader. I think kit might be the one I've had on my to do list.


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