Behind the scenes

The Novella Series is something I've been working diligently on for the summer. Currently, there are four for this series that are lined up. I will eventually make them into a box set in the future.

People always ask me "What are you writing now?" and it's a struggle to answer because I am doing multiple things at once. It's a chain process where one links to another and I work in tandem with other people's schedules as well as my own deadlines.

So what does that look like exactly?

This is my process:

Concept development for Story #1

I have a rough concept on hand that has been sitting in my think tank. I get these from dreams, from random thoughts, inspiration has yet to be a bottleneck for me. My reservoir grows faster than I can currently write.

I turn this into an outline using The Hero's Journey along with a character plot arc. This is my current favorite for the novellas.

So, once the outline is complete, I move on to Draft Story #1

Now, you'll see a lot of writers talk about "Pantsing" or "Plotting". Every writer is different. Some make it up as they go along from start to finish. Some, like to create detailed outlines. Others do something in between.

I started out as a panster, but over time I looked at my own writing and found that I tend to have a low word count. I am not a writer full of prose and wisdom or flowery description even when there needs to be some. I found that having an outline gave me a word count to aim for. If I'm short on words for a chapter, it probably means I'm missing some details that readers want.

As Holly Black once said, "You either outline, or your first draft is the outline."

I tend to agree with her. Outlining helps me write a first draft that I don't want to light on fire when it comes time to revise.

However, if you are a writer who tends to overwrite, you may want to try pantsing.

Okay, so Draft Story #1 is complete. It probably took two weeks to a month. Draft Story #1 then goes to my Developmental Editor.

A developmental editor goes through and points out the flaws in the story, characterization, they give feedback on what the story needs more or less of. You do need to hire a developmental editor if you can find a few good critique partners, but since I am doing Novellas, on a time-sensitive schedule, and I need consistent quality feedback, this is what I do.

If you can afford to be patient, a good critique partner can save you a lot of money in the long run. This is not to be confused with a Beta Reader. Those are readers for the finished product.

Ok, so with Draft #1 in the Developmental Editor's hands, we go on to Outline for Story #2. Which is the same as Story #1. I do an outline and the draft for Book #2

While this is going, it's important to note that I am also working on Book Covers, my Newsletter, and researching Keywords for advertising. I spend downtime on reading, researching, and learning more skills to better my writing.

Somewhere in there, the developmental editor sends me feedback for Book Draft #1. Then give her Book Draft #2 for a developmental edit.

Developmental Edits: What to expect.

Usually, a developmental edit comes with an editorial letter along with in-line comments in the draft itself.

I like to take the time to read the editorial letter first and let it digest for a few days. Once I go back to it, I reread it, break it down, and sometimes I even take notes to help me further before going into the line-edit.

This process takes the longest. Draft #2 will be returned and collecting dust because this is where I take my time and make the story.

Draft #1 is has been edited after several weeks to a month. I could edit Draft #2, but my brain is mush. Draft #1 now goes to a Line Editor.

A Line-Edit is when an editor goes through line by line and fine-tunes the story on a readability level. This process also takes a long time because it's so labor-intensive. For a novella, it can take up to 4-6 weeks.

So I take this time to restart my creative juices and Outline and Draft Story #3.

The juggling continues...

Draft #3 is created, goes to the developmental editor and I now begin revisions of Draft Story #2.

When Draft Story #1 has returned, there isn't as much work for me to do. I accept changes and comb over the manuscript for errors or typos. As a writer, you can't expect to catch all of these. You're eyes just glaze over. The Reading Out Loud feature on Microsoft Word helps a lot. Draft Story #1 now goes through proofreading, which takes a few weeks.

For folks counting at home.

Story #1 has gone through the proofreading stage. There have been 4.5 versions of the story counting the outline. By now there is a cover, a blurb, it is up on Amazon, I have sent out newsletters, and researched keywords.

Story #2 has been outlined, written, developed, and is now off to the line editor. I'm probably getting the cover lined up.

Story #3 Is just returning from the developmental edit, but I'm not going to touch it yet because...

Story #4 is being drafted.

So, that's it, that's my process. I'm working on developmental revisions for Story #3 and Story #4 is off to the developmental editor. Story #2 is with the line editor and should be back any day now.

Pretty fun right?


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