The feedback on the ninth draft of Trash Dick was pretty positive. I had a few notes that weren’t positive that I took under consideration in subsequent drafts. One note I received was that the sex scenes weren’t graphic enough, which I was okay with since I was writing a sex comedy and not a pornographic novel. I knew there was plenty of sexual content in the book, and while I accepted the note, I knew I wasn’t going to push things further than I already was.
I’ll say here that you should always listen to the feedback of your Beta readers and decide if their notes will help improve your story. Sometimes, notes will be specific to the individual person and reflect their specific tastes (like the woman who wanted more porn-level sex in the book). If that’s the case, take the note under advisement, but always do what you feel is best for your book and its story.
Once I had the feedback, I went back for the next rewrite. During this phase of the process, I will open a new document and write new versions of chapters, new sections of dialogue, better descriptions, and even additional chapters. Doing this outside the manuscript helps keep me focused on these new additions and allows me to re-order them for inclusion in the next draft without impacting what already exists.
I then work through the manuscript chapter by chapter, improving, adding, and cutting as I go. It’s a long process, but it must be done. You really have to be patient and focused during this process, and I often worked all night until I couldn’t focus on the computer screen anymore without going crazy.
As the next few drafts were in progress, I worked with a team to develop a new author’s website. My original website was focused on my Young Adult books, The Field and Midnight House, so I knew a novel filled with sex and profanity wouldn’t fit that template. As we developed the new site, reality smacked me in the face: the title of this book isn’t gonna work!
Trash Dick was fine for the drafts, but I knew if I wanted to get a cover designed, the manuscript copyrighted, and market the book, I needed something new. One night, I tossed and turned in bed, thinking of a new title that would still let readers know what the book was about. I came up with a synonym for trash dick, sexual misadventures, and came up with The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams. But I knew it needed more.
I wanted to indicate what type of person she was in the easiest way possible. Many of her traits made me think of alpha females in the animal kingdom. Did they exist in human form? I did some research, and boom; a new title was born: The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams, Alpha Female. Now I had a title I could use and not feel uncomfortable, especially since I was too afraid to tell my parents what the first title was (of course, now they’ll know when they read this).
Once I was happy with the title and the newest draft of the book, it was time for the fun part: Editing. We’ll discuss that next!