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Monday, June 16, 2014

Birthing a manuscript...sounds gross, I know

I had someone ask me recently what my writing process was so I thought I'd do a little post about it, you know, because it's fascinating and all.

Step 1: I usually get an idea about the next book while I'm working on the current book. It's almost always some fabulous scene playing out in my mind, just like in a movie. This sucks a lot because new ideas are shiny and exciting and, well, new...but priority must go to the current wip, so....

Step 2: I jot down a rough plot. And by rough I mean really rough, usually beginning, middle and end in a few point form sentences. I also try to get the details of the scene down just in case it disappears (which it usually doesn't...but better safe right?) I then proceed to dream about the shiny new idea...I'm not joking, new idea tends to spawn other new ideas which typically come to me in dreams or at random, odd moments of the day. Sticky notes are my best friend.

Step 3: Once I can devote the time, I start really plotting out the wip. I like to use Scrivener for my initial rough draft because I can organize my files separately and I can very easily create character profiles with pictures. I know everyone has their own process here and some of my author friends like to fully flesh out the details in this stage. I'm not like that. I don't know if it's laziness or what, but I do some basic character profiling and have about a page worth of plot notes at this stage.

Step 4: I start writing. When I start writing I like to set quotas for myself. It depends on the time of year and what's going on at the day job but it's typically a number like 10K per week. This method works really well for me as I'm quite goal oriented and like to compete with myself...you know...cause that's normal. I typically try to exceed whatever my word count was the week before kind of thing.

This is also the stage where a lot of staring into space happens in my real life. My brain is constantly working out plot problems or adding details so I zone out a lot, sometimes even during conversations. My friends and family know me well enough to catch the moment I enter my fictional world. I get teased about it of course, but this is the world of a writer, we're weird folk I tell ya.

Step 5: Once the novel is finished I try to let it sit for a bit. If there are other things to do like editing another project or catching up on day job stuff, I'll leave the wip for a while. If there's nothing else to do, I typically dive back in for the first round of editing and sometimes rewriting.

Step 6: Editing...ugh...time wise, I think I do more editing than actual writing. My first draft is usually very rough...I type without stopping a lot of the time so there are spelling mistakes and typos and plot issues...etc. I will do two to three edits in Scrivener then compile (I hate the compiling stage because I can never get it formatted right) to Word. I then do another one or two edits to fix the formatting issues.

Step 7: I send it out to my fabulous critters for editing/critique. These women are the best of the best and you'll find their names repeatedly mentioned in my acknowledgments page of my published books. They don't let me slack or get away with lazy tricks. They are honest and make fun of me and I love it.

Step 8: Once I get the critter comments back I edit again...usually doing two or more passes and then a final read-through to catch any lingering mistakes.

Step 9: I write the blurb and summary and then I send it where ever I need to send it. At this moment it's to my amazing editor at Samhain but there are other places that things sometimes go. ;-)

And that's it, my bloody, mucous-filled, sometimes painful, sometimes blissful birthing of a novel/novella.

Don't forget, my series The Order of the Wolf begins in July with the release of Cursed (on sale for pre-order) and followed by Wolf Slayer (also available for pre-order). Go ahead, buy them...I dare ya ;-)

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