Friday, September 21, 2018

A Writer’s Process, All the Way to Free Book

A writer should not have favorite books any more than a mother should have favorite children. But some books come easier than others, and some stay in your heart for different reasons. In general, my favorite book is the one I’m working on now, at least at the beginning. In fact, there’s a definite process involved, and the timing varies from book to book. For me, however, it generally goes like this:

  • Idea and Research Joy, oh joy! I’ve been tapped by greatness. This is the coolest idea and absolutely must be committed to paper. Immediately. But first, I get to delve into lovely, lovely research to make sure the idea is feasible and WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE? Well, there are such things as fresh spins and unique takes. This will be one of those.
  • First Draft The words pour onto the page. Scenes I never dreamed of dance before my eyes. I can’t write fast enough. There’s just so much to pull together.
  • Second Draft Now I roll up my sleeves. Every fact checked, every phrase confirmed as in use during the period. Emotions amplified. Descriptions enhanced. Action crisp and clean. Flow. Wait, where’s the flow? He said “I love you,” pages before he should have. More work ahead.
  • Final Draft Before Critique Partner Ug! I hate it. It is trite and overworked and hopelessly pedantic. My critique partner is going to find soooo much wrong with it. But, hey, that means I’ll get another chance at it. And while she’s reading it, I get to come up with an idea and do research for something else, something better than this.
  • Manuscript to Editor Well, my critique partner didn’t think it was all that bad. Sure, she found some problems, but fixing them only made the book stronger, deeper. And I spotted some things that could be improved as well. This just might be a book.
  • Revisions [Okay, this is one of Marissa’s favorite points in the process, but we won’t hold that against her.] So my editor didn’t like the hero or thought the heroine wasn’t likable enough out of the gate. Valid points. I knew it must have problems. Sleeves rolled up again, I dive in once more and polish this baby until she shines.
  • Final Book Every word is familiar, every character like meeting an old friend. It is what it is. If the book is for a traditional publishing house, I’m done. If I self-published, however, I could go back and tinker.

Hands off!

Want to see a book that’s been through that process not once but twice? Secrets and Sensibilities, the first book in my Lady Emily Capers, is free through September 27. Many of you have that book, but, if you enjoyed it, please alert let your friends and family who might like it.

Because, you never know. I might decide to rewrite it again someday.

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