Believe it or not, there is more to writing a book than dumping words into a Word document and consuming huge amounts of chocolate LOL
In this post, I want to share a bit of my process with you. Bear in mind this is also supplemented with doing laundry, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, dishes and the continued raising of the husband LOL
Spend some time with your characters beforehand. Really get to know them. What makes them tick? What do they like, dislike? Do they have a past, a quirk, a pet peeve, etc.
Spend some time imagining your setting. What’s unique about the area? If you’ve actually been there, where’s your favorite place and why? Can you include a scene with that place in the book?
What are some interesting conflicts you can set up for your h/h? Why will this make them sweat? How will this bring them together to conquer it?
Then comes the naming of the characters. They can’t sound too dorky or babyish. And for me, the outlining will begin here. Let’s say I want the book to be 80K. Then I figure out how long I want the approximate chapter length to be then break down the outline according to chapters.
Remember each chapter needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end like a small capsule of the bigger story.
Now it’s time to begin actual writing. But here’s the catch. Not all books behave the same way. Why? Because any good writer will put their heart and soul into the book which means you might agonize for hours over how to word a paragraph or passage. Choosing words carefully is a big part of what sets a good writer apart from the mediocre. Study authors you respect. See the difference between their work and yours.
If you have a pre-set daily word count that’s great, but it’s also fine if you don’t make it. Heck, it’s fine if you don’t get anywhere near it every day. Really good books take time—lots of it. The more time and energy you spend on actually writing (and caring) about your plot and characters, the stronger it will be.
Book writing isn’t a race. It’s not even a marathon. It is an act of self-sacrificing love and commitment between you and that story. If you race through it like a house on fire, your novel will be transparent and one-faceted. Now, come on, you hate reading books like that so why would you want to cheat yourself and write one?
After a time (months preferably) that I spend writing the book, once the first draft is finished, I set it aside. For a week or more. Then I come back and the editing begins. I make several, several passes over the book at this point. There is something to be changed at every pass, enhancing the book, clearing up passages, eliminating filler words. Trimming down, adding touches, etc.
Once that’s accomplished (usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks depending) it goes out to beta readers. These folks are invaluable to me because they look at the book with fresh eyes and have no vesting interest in the story at that point. My betas are brutally honest and they’ll probably never know how much I appreciate them.
As feedback comes in, I’ll edit the book again, taking their suggestions into consideration. Then finally I can pronounce a book is in the proper shape to submit it.
So you see, raising a book from an infant idea to a full-fledged young adult is hard, hard work. It won’t even become an adult until a tough-as-nails editor gets it and molds it into the final product.
What a lot of writers are missing out on right now is the proper care and feeding of their novels. Left alone with very little supervision, these books will run wild, exhibit bad behavior and generally cause annoyance everywhere they go. Your goal as the “parents” of these books is to make sure you end up with a product that you’d be proud to take out into public to show to your friends and readers.
This can only be accomplished with large amounts of dedication, application of everything you’ve learned and copious amounts of time.