What’s Next

After I had written a healthy chunk of my first draft of Ripped, it was time to steel myself for getting other people’s opinions. My three daughters are my first readers; they made lots of helpful suggestions, especially when they thought my teen slang didn’t ring true. They also questioned me about the characters and actions (“Would Katie do that?”), which led me to sharpen my view of the plot, the dialog, and the structure of the book.

While my husband is my biggest supporter, he tells me everything I write is wonderful . . . and I think the long process of rewriting is harder on him than it is on me!

I depend on my writers’ groups to give me helpful feedback on my work. Writers’ groups are so valuable. Members are all very supportive of one another’s work. They provide critiques without being judgmental. If you aspire to the writing life, I can’t recommend highly enough that you find yourself a group of peers to meet with. Everyone’s work benefits!

I also ask friends—very good friends—to read the manuscript. This sometimes leads to conflicting opinions, and I keep reminding myself that it’s my book, after all. I get excellent suggestions from friends, many of which I incorporate in the next draft.

And then, of course, it’s off to my editor. More on that process next time.

—Shelly

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