Warning: I know some of you hate long blog posts, but since I haven’t been posting much the last month, this one is a long one. The title pretty much explains everything in this post. If your’re interested, enjoy, if not, well…mom always said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” so, ‘nough said.
I’ve done some lifting of the face, so to speak to the blog today. Really, I just got tired of the black. It looked off and I wanted something new. So this is the new. Enjoy it, or there may be a #trouslap coming your way!
Editing Shift, the sequel to Exiled, has been frustrating thus far. Between trying to find time, and staying focused on it when I have it. I’ve had some issues. Normally, this isn’t a problem for me, but I realized last night, the “I don’t really want to do this” feeling I was getting, was simply the fact that my book had a problem. One I quickly corrected when I realized it. I stumbled over this issue for a few days when all it took was adding a chapter and deleting a paragraph. At least now I’m excited about editing again.
Ugh…I can’t believe I just said that.
How I write
Every writer has a different method to their madness, so I thought I’d give you some insight into how I write my books. So far, at least. It’s always changing.
Step 1: Write the book.
This is the second book I’ve written, and this time I outlined it. I will outline all my stories from now on. It makes the process so much easier for me. I still get to experience things as they happen with my characters, because I don’t do a thorough outline, but the rough outline helps me avoid major plot holes.
I don’t bother with editing while I write. I sit down, and let the story fall onto the page. I’ll fix it later. The more we write, the better we write. Your craft improves with each word you write, and as such, this may change at a later date. A lot of seasoned writers simply edit and polish as they write. This might be a process I adopt down the road, but not now.
After this is done, I take 2 – 6 weeks off. I let the story settle, and I forget about it. Easier said then done.
Step 2: First round edits – Development and Clean-up
Here, I put the story and characters together. I add, delete, and change scenes. This is the draft I use to craft the story as I want it to be.
At the end of step 1 for Shift, I knew I wanted to add some major things. This is the time I’ll do this. I want to round out and develop my characters and story here. I want to show their development, and make sure I’ve gotten that across. I want to tie up and loose ends in the plot I left open to work on later, and I want to make the story shine. Is there enough action? Too much? Are the relationships growing? Characters growing?
Everything major I do here.
Step 3: Second round edits – First round Polish
This is pretty simple. I go through the story, read it, and polish up each chapter individually. I clean up dialogue, grammar, and I’ll do some minor work as per Step 2. Add a bit, delete a bit, and make sure I’ve really finished the story.
Step 4: Third round edits – Beta Polish
Here I go line by line and clean up the book. I smooth out the dialogue, and really focus on the writing. I manage the flow, pacing, grammar (to the best of my ability), and spelling. I’ll clean up paragraphs and scenes, making sure they start/stop in the right places and make sure the story reads properly.
Step 5: Read
Here I – and usually my wife – read the book. I try not to make any changes at this point, but I’m usually unsuccessful. Sometimes, I change things so many times, I end up changing them back to what they originally were but, I do my best to keep my hands off the keys. I’m about ready to hand this story off to beta readers, so I want to make sure it’s where it needs to be. I’m not overly concerned with any other spelling/grammar errors anymore. I’ve done my best. Plus, I pay someone to like grammar and spelling so I don’t have to.
Step 6: Beta Time
The title pretty much explains itself here. I ship the book off to half my beta readers. Then I tape my hands behind my back to keep from pulling my hair our while I wait in excruciatingly nervous anticipation.
Step 7: Beat Filter
This is a big step. I take all the feed back I’ve gotten from beta readers and I decide what I like/dislike, and what will work for the story. I don’t kill myself over this. Sometimes part of the group loves something, and the other part hates it. They disagree with each other and have contradicting advice. Why? Because everyone likes different things about a story. They want this to happen instead of this, and so on. Here, I filter all that out and decide what advice is worth taking, and what just doesn’t work.
Step 8: Beta Edits
Here, I make all the changes I’ve decided to go with. After I’ve added/removed the necessary parts. I’ll go through and polish the book again from front to back.
Step 9: Pre-diting beta’s
Here, I give the book to my seccond round of betas and repeat steps 6 – 8. During this time, I will also plot and outline the next book.
Step 10: Professional edit
I hand my manuscript off to my editor and work with her until we’re both satisfied we have a killer product. During this step, I start writing the next book. Usually, if I’ve plotted correctly, I’ll have the first draft of the next book done by the time the current book has completed it’s professional edits.
Step 11: The work beings
This sounds strange, since the above may look like a mountain of work to you. It’s not. I soon realized after publishing Exiled, writing the book is the easy part. This is the most painful, least fun, and most work phase that has several substeps I won’t get into now. In a nutshell, I get cover art, format, format, format, and format, publish, promote, market, and start lining up reviews.
That’s it. That’s how a write. Before we get to the real awesomeness of today, here’s a few About Me things with my writing.
– I do EVERYTHING on the computer. My writing is unreadable, even to me. There’s no pen to paper edits for this crazy cat.
– I work fast. Exiled took 6 months to write the first draft. Shift took 6 weeks. So the above steps look like they should take forever, but they don’t. I work at least 5 nights a week, and generally put in 5 hours each night. On weekends, if I get some magic mojo flowing, I’ll work for 6 – 14 hours straight. As a writer, when you get in “The Zone” you don’t let it go. You take full advantage.
– I write to music. Always. No specific playlist necessarily, but always music
Now on to the real awesomeness: