Laura Howard: Six Questions with Rebecca Berto


Six Questions with Rebecca Berto

Happy Saturday, writers.Today I'd like to welcome Novel Girl Rebecca Berto back to Finding Bliss!

Rebecca is the author of novella Precise and is getting ready to release her first full-length novel Drowing in You.

What is your method of plotting out a new story?

I take time to gather my ideas for a story. From these ideas I brainstorm a whole heap of story problems and conflicts I can put in the way of the characters.

Secondly, I flesh out character bios.

Thirdly, I create a beat sheet/scene cards. In 1-3 sentences, I detail a summary of what will occur in each scene of every scene in the manuscript.

This means the story has a backbone and all other necessary structural bits.

However, I tend to deviate from what I plan with spontaneity and all (those characters are so stubborn), but for the most part, I stick to it and I spend minimal time writing and editing compared to with my first serious manuscript. *shudders at the thought*

What is your editing process?

After the first draft is complete, I put the manuscript aside for at least four weeks. That’s crucial to get out of the “author” headspace, forget what I wrote, what I meant to say, and such.

I come back to it, trying to think with the mindset of another person, i.e. a reader, and I do a structural edit. This means I look out for:

  • Unbelievable character actions and plot events
  • Unlikeable characters
  • Flat characters who aren’t broken down and built up to be even stronger by the end
  • Boring scenes
  • Scenes that don’t forward the plot
  • Paragraphs that are written really, really well but do nothing for the story (Kill Your Darlings)
  • And more!

I don’t worry about:

  • Typos unless I stumble on them
  • Awkward phrases
  • Word usage not fitting a type of character

Next, I copy edit, send to beta readers and incorporate their advice if I agree, more rounds of copy editing, finally proofing, and then I send to my copy editor.

Then I proof. Again.

When you published your first book, how did you spread the word?
I blogged about it for several weeks before publication, asked for reviews, planned a cover reveal with many bloggers (including your fine self), added it to Goodreads lists, had a Facebook launch party, held Rafflecopter giveaways to increase interest with entries that would increase my popularity on social media and for the book’s visibility on Goodreads, and much more that won’t come to mind at the moment.

What has worked the best for you as far as finding the right readers for your books?

My first book,
Precise, is a novella and is a cross between dark contemporary and literary fiction. As you can imagine, it’s not the most popular of types of books or genres, so I looked out for people who enjoyed other books with a similar plot, theme or feel to mine and hunted down those people. (I didn’t really. I like chatting to everyone and I am nice about it. ).

Also, I have been blogging since October 26, 2011 so I have many kind blog readers and friends I made through Novel Girl who were thrilled to be able to read, review and spread the word. << That, by far, worked best. Thank you all who helped!

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

In too many ways! Argh, seriously, I’m on the internet too much. We connect through my Facebook Profile and Page, Twitter, Novel Girl blog.

What is the one thing you’d change about your road to publication if you had a chance?

Oooh, well I’d give myself more time to promote and publicize my book; give readers more anticipation. I’d have organised a blog tour.

I don’t regret what I’ve done—just wish I had time to do more!

How do you find the right readers for your books?


  1. Love the questions, Laura and the answers, Rebecca. Maybe one day I will put all that advice to use. Great interview!


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