Nearly everyone in the profession says to first get your story written – the rough draft bit. Only from that point can you see: 1) character development; 2) plot twists; and most importantly, 3) the big picture. Here, you might be like me, and after seeing all the holes and inconsistencies, you drop your head to the desk and never want to write another word, because calling what you spent months writing a rough draft is simply being polite. But you pick yourself up to see what can be done.
After the rough draft is completed, you start hacking away at it, cutting scenes and even chapters which don’t push the story or character development forward. I’ve even thrown away major characters because they were redundant or didn’t serve much purpose.
Then comes your rewrite.
Then comes revisions, lots of them.
Then comes letting your critique group read some. Although sometimes my dear critique group reads subs which I later eliminate, but that is because they only see slices at a time (1-3 chapters) v.s. the big picture (whole novel). They do, however, keep me writing and writing and writing, as well as continue being terrific friends.
Then come the editor’s comments to address.
Then comes the word-by-word read to make sure every single word is right, and not just spelled correctly. (And sometimes, you all still miss some.)
My next book, Escape: The War Unicorn Chronicles, Book 2, is scheduled for a September 2018 publication date. A month ago, I switched plans and decided to combine two books. Whatever was I thinking? Plus, I feel writing in two points of view is distracting, both for the writer and the reader, yet here I am, doing just that.
It was only after finishing the rough/rewritten/revised draft of one and starting on the next, that I realized the two needed to be mashed together. I’ve already cut out about 20,000 words from the second story, but need to now finish that rough draft to another 20- 30,000 words, making sure they not only make sense as one story, but that they mash seamlessly together. I’m painfully deleting from that first story. Painfully, because I adore those scenes, those dialogues, those descriptions and interactions, but…“One, two! One, two! And through and through the vorpal blade went snicker-snack!”
So…1) finish your rough draft; 2) delete and add; 3) rewrite; 4) revise; 5) send through critique group; 6) revise; 7) send to editor; 8) revise; 9) do word-by-word check; 10) release your baby to the publisher.
I’m a plotter and find that doing an outline really helps with holes and keeps me focused. A timeline while I’m writing helps too.
Two great points. I plot, too, but find I sometimes stray, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the waste. You are so disciplined, Sharon.
Hey I read the War Unicorn and loved it. Looking forward to the sequel. I will appreciate it even more after knowing all the meshing and work going into it. All the steps to writing a novel seem so simple, but carrying through with each one is torture. The last one, for me, letting it go is the worst. Always wondering if it’s really right and ready for readers.
Thanks, Janet. I agree the last point is difficult. I think I could work on the same story for the next few decades. A writer friend confessed the same, and said there is a time to just let go. (P.S. War Unicorn: The Ring was published last October. Dragon Princess, Book 1 of the War Unicorn CHRONICLES was published in February. This meshed book I’m working on (Escape, Book 2 of the War Unicorn Chronicles) has a September release date. I will be ready. I WILL be ready!