A lot goes into writing a novel. Different authors do it different ways, and there’s no “right” method of bringing a book to life. Today, I thought I’d just lay out the process that I go through to write and edit a novel, from first dream until finished product. Also, I just finished re-watching seasons 1 through 4 of Doctor Who, so… here’s some David Tennant gifs for your eyeballs to enjoy.
1. The Dream
My novels usually begin with an idea. I’ll be minding my own business doing something, and BANG! Out of nowhere, a story idea shows up and is just like, “hello. I’m your new novel.”
My novels seem to start with characters. Usually a character or two and a scene or two. It’s a mad bunch of brainstorming and dreaming and going, “this is gonna be AMAZING.“
2. The First Draft
Usually, there’s a bit of time between the FIRST IDEA and the First Draft. I gather my strength. I stockpile caffeine and twizzlers. (Sometimes, I wait for November and a good old NaNoWriMo.) Then I buckle down and write, pretty fast and messy and furious and rambly and incredibly fun. It’s like, ALLONS-Y, THIS IS IT! ROUGH DRAFT TIME!
3. The Second Draft (Aka The Re-Writes)
After another break in time, I’ll buckle down and start on the Second Draft. I being by reading through the entirety of my messy manuscript, making notes and trying to work out a plot. Usually, I realize that I need to re-do about a third of the book. I generally end up writing about five brand new chapters. So I write new scenes and edit old ones, stitching together the narratives, brainstorming and trying to figure out how the plot points all fit together.
4. The First Round of Edits
After another little break, I read over the entire novel, focusing on the Big Stuff. Plot points, character arcs, and overall flow. I change stuff around if I need to, and fix obvious issues. Do I focus on sentence structure or passive voice or adverbs yet? Nope.
That all comes later. The First Round of Edits is for BIG fixes only.
5. The Second Round of Edits
This edit is for the Smaller Stuff. Usually I like to print out my manuscript at this point, as it’s a lot easier to see my flaws on paper than on the screen. This is where I focus on using strong verbs, making sure my dialogue is tight, touching up the setting, and examining things on the paragraph and sentence level.
6. Getting Critiques/ Reviews/ Beta Readers
At some point, it’s time to get my work critiqued. For my first novel, I actually got my first critiques a lot earlier (which I highly recommend for your first novel). But now that I’m an “experienced writer,” this is when I start to let people read my work and get feedback on it. So I SEND IT OUT! BETA READERS! CRITIQUE CIRCLE! WRITER’S CLUB! MY MOTHER! MY BOOKISH FRIENDS! RANDOMS STRANGERS ON THE STREET! Everyone who will read it. I get feedback. Ask questions. Take the helpful suggestions and leave the rest.
7. Repeat Steps 5 & 6 Indefinitely, Until I Either Hate My Novel or I Get it Published. Also, Move on and Write New Novels!
I keep editing and getting feedback until I’m ready for submitting to an agent.
(And then realize I wasn’t actually ready, and work on it some more, and finally decide to move onto new writing projects instead.) Also, the process of publishing is something entirely separate from the process of writing and editing a novel, so I’ll save that one for another blog post.
// I’d love to hear if your writing process resembles mine at all! Also, who’s your favorite Doctor? What do you think of the 13th being a female? How’s your writing going? Leave a comment and let me know! Also feel free to check out the Guest Book and introduce yourself and leave a link back to your own blog. //