The Ever Evolving Process: Idea to Published Book

Over the last two years my process for getting from initial idea to actual published book has evolved.

While I’d started many books prior, Blue Violet was the first book I finished. I’ll be honest…looking back I was a hot mess. I wrote on gut instinct alone and the original final draft needed a helluva lot of help. I had no set way to write, to edit, things to look for, etc. During the editing process, I got lucky in finding someone to help me hone the process and learn what to look for. (Thank you Wendy!)

Now, a little over two years later, I’m in the middle of multiple projects. Let’s pick just one for the comparison: Sarai’s Fortune. This is the 2nd book in the Shadowcat Nation series. It’s also my 7th completed manuscript (4 books of the Svatura series, Andromeda’s Fall, & Saving the Sheriff are all done). I have just completed my full drafting process on this book today, and now it goes to critiques. And the process is very different-but I hope equally effective and possibly more efficient.

I thought it would be fun to compare the steps from idea to published for these two books:

Process Step

Blue Violet

Sarai’s Fortune

Idea

A falcon shifter watching over others like her.

Follow on to 1st book; A Seer sees the man she’ll love in pain because of her.

1st Draft Method

Write in patches – jumping from scene to scene. Leaving lots of blanks.

Write start to finish, getting bare bones on paper, putting place holders for scenes to fill in later.

1st Draft Timing

6 weeks (45k words written)

2 weeks (40k words written)

2nd Draft Method

Read through and fill in remaining scenes.

Fill in remaining scenes. Start applying various exercises (plot structure, points of tension, foreshadowing, filling in characters, filling in world building). Keep list of more to go back and fill in on next drafts.

2nd Draft Timing

1 week (5k words added)

4 weeks (10k words added)

Add’l Drafts Methods

What add’l drafts?

Go through remaining list of more to fill in. Craft the prose more.

Add’l Drafts Timing

0 time

2 weeks (10k words added)

Critique Method

What critique method?

1 round w/ Wendy

Critique group

A few trusted readers

Critique Timing

0 time

Once I get feedback in usually takes me ~1-2 weeks to apply. Hopefully less if all my hard work up front pays off.

Editing Method

3 rounds w/ Wendy

1 round w/ Mom (English teacher)

Mom – one pass thru for grammar clean up (and those darn commas).

Send to Lill at The Wild Rose Press to start the official process!!!

Editing Timing

3 months (10k words added, lots of major re-writing).

Not sure on Sarai’s. Andromeda’s I did a full editing process with Wendy rather than just the critique since I self-published first, so it was pretty clean for Lill. Hopefully I’ll get her an equally clean draft for Sarai’s. 🙂

Publishing Method

Self-published

The Wild Rose Press!!!!

***Items in purple are phases I haven't started yet for Sarai's Fortune. Applying timing from last 2 books to get an idea.

 

My point with all this is…there is no one perfect way to write a book.

Blue Violet went on to win 2 awards and many loyal readers. Was my method nearly as detailed as it is now? No. But I would venture to say the same amount of revising and work went into it. It’s just that more of the crafting happened in editing rather than my drafting phases. The biggest thing that’s changed from book #1 to book #7 is my own confidence in my writing and my ability to polish a well-crafted manuscript before it gets to editing. And that just comes with practice.

 

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