As part of my process, which is perhaps overly paper-intensive, I’m printing out a copy right now, at a line and a half spacing so there’s plenty of room to write on it. I’ll go through that with my colored paper tags, marking the places where there are things to be fixed or done or included, including notes ranging in magnitude from “this needs to be foreshadowed in previous chapter” to “check street name.” I’ll read through the manuscript, tinkering at the paragraph and sentence level while answering each of those tabs so I can remove it from the manuscript.
When they’re all answered, I’ll print out another copy and read that aloud with pen in hand. That may happen more than once.
I’ve polished the prologue and first chapter a couple of times, so I’m running that past one writing group, and will be looking for first readers when I get to the read-aloud stage – if people are interested, please drop me a line in the comments.
Is this the only way to write a novel? A thousand times no! But it’s worked for me, and if there’s any part of it that’s useful to you, seize it freely. The single wisest thing I heard at Clarion West, from Syne Mitchell, was, “Try different things and find out what works for you. Then do that. Lots.”