I might end up taking a slightly ironic approach to this, but hopefully someone will gather something from it. If you want me to give more advice on any topic just comment or contact me. If I can’t answer your question, I know people who can! I’ll also be choosing a few of the topics covered here and turning them into more detailed posts. (welcome to suggestions!)
Step 1: Brainstorm
Brainstorming is my favorite part of writing. I have hordes of ideas just waiting to be written. Often your first idea isn’t your best idea, so try to come up with more than one. Once you have a few ideas expand on them using plot charts and then pick your favorite!
Step 2: Outline
Not all authors outline, and it’s something I struggle with. If you used plot charts to expand on your ideas you can start with that.
- create a few sub-plots
- detail what happens in each chapter
- use hill/roller coaster diagram
- mark out number of estimated chapters
- word count estemation
Step 3: First draft
This is the hard part- but the most rewarding. Now is when you’ll be happy you outlined. Remember- just push through. It doesn’t matter how awful the first draft is- it’s called a draft for a reason.
- Write when you feel inspired- or when you don’t
- Try to reach daily word-counts
- Take breaks
- don’t edit
Step 4: Editing round One
Round One? Yes, you read that correctly. There’s more than one round of edits. For my round one, I usually run my writing through a grammar checker (I like grammarly) before I print it and make sure the flow is right.
- plot holes
- ask friend to read
Step 5: Alpha Readers
What are Alpha readers? After step four you need some outside advice and some feedback! This is a really helpful article.
- 5-25 people
- give them instructions of what you want
Step 6: Editing Round Two
At last the Alphas have finished! Now is the time to review their feedback. What did they love? What did they hate? Were your characters memorable?
- make changes according to Alphas
- note their feelings for the book
- don’t get frustrated with their comments
Step 7: Take a Break
For at least a month, take a step back and don’t even think about your novel. Focus on a different project.
- no reading it
- no talking about it
- no reading outlines
- no reading alpha reviews
Step 8: Editing Round Three
Editing varies in round three depending on the book and the author. Maybe you think it’s ready to be send onto Beta readers. Maybe it needs to be reworked. Coming back to your novel and reading the whole thing through once is important.
- prepare for betas
- re-read alpha reviews
- read manuscript over
- run it through a grammar checker again
Step 9: Betas
Beta readers very slightly from Alphas. They read the novel when it is almost ready to be published, and so they are looking for slightly different things. This is a good article about both the definition and how to find them.
Now that you’ve got the basics down it’s time to go out into the world and write that novel! Of course, it’s all a lot more complicated and longer than I made it seem. ;P Like I said before if you have questions comment or contact me.
I’ve finally decided on a cover for Evie’s Empire (thank goodness) so I’ll be hosting a mini blog tour and reveal soon, plus opening sign-ups for Beta readers! This is a big step for me, as I’m going to be having both alpha and beta readers. In the past I’ve gone the quick route and skipped one or the other, but I won’t be making that mistake again. So look for the sign ups on here and Goodreads soon!
And of course, remember to like, comment, or share, whatever floats your boat! Until next time!