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Today I’m going to talk about my writing process. It’s a little different from some other people I know so…
Currently, I’m writing the first draft of The Runaway Princess and editing Evie’s Empire, so I’ll try to cover both writing and editing.
Every writing project/novel I’ve written starts out on pen and paper with a few scribbled ideas. Technically The Runaway Princess is actually the third draft, so it is slightly more put together than normal.
Writing: Step 1- Brainstorming
About two weeks unless I’m reluctant to start writing the project.
This is where I kind of just think about where I want to go in the novel and what characters will be needed. I usually decide who the main characters are at this point as well.
A lot of this is just done on notebook paper and is very much all over the place. It usually involves the first draft of the blurb as well, which helps me decide where I’m going.
Writing: Step 2- Outline
About two weeks
I used to be a major pantser, but the older I get the more I prefer a detailed outline. This usually involves a few sheets of paper that look like the picture below. Sometimes for this I’ll use sticky notes, and usually, there are a few blank columns left for step 3.
Writing: Step 3- Characters
Usually only a week or so
At this point, I do usually begin writing a little, but I focus a lot on figuring out what the characters will be like. This involves some Meyers-Briggs personality things, and I usually try to figure out a few real-life or fictional people similar to my characters. I don’t really know how to explain this step, because a lot of it happens in my head.
The picture is my closet doors, where I do most of my initial planning. Each sticky note is a character, and in the top left is the key. They have marker marks on them denoting what country they live in, arrows for relationships (of any sort) and bullet points detailing important things like if they are married, and to whom etc. Plus at the bottom of each is a physical description.
Writing: Step 4- Drafting
Usually at least four school months, or two summer months (unless it’s NANO)
This is by far my favorite part- but also the hardest and longest. I try to stick mainly to a notebook for this, and I do write with a pencil. This is mostly just when I write, write, write. I may make a small outline or characteristic changes, but nothing big. If I spot a problem, I’ll write it in the margins, Evernote app, or my writing binder, and leave it for later.
Editing: Step 1- Typing
Varies, somewhere between three weeks and seven weeks.
At this point, I’ll type my whole novel into a google doc and gather all notes into my writing binder/Evernote. I do edit a little while I type, but not a ton.
Editing: Step 2- Break
I aim for three weeks but maybe more like five
At this point, I’ll begin writing steps 1 or 2 for a new novel or short story. If I don’t want to write I’ll just focus on blogging and reading some novels. The goal is to forget about my draft and relax after hammering out thousands of words.
Editing: Step 3- Font Change
A few weeks
I usually write in comic sans, which is an awful font, but at this point, I’ll change the font and try to take care of the notes I’ve been gathering since I began my draft. This is a pretty straight forward thing, although I’ll point out that I try not to just read the whole thing through, and I use a lot of the find/replace function.
Editing: Step 4- Reading Out Loud
Three to four weeks
Pretty much what it sounds like. I usually make sure to keep a glass of water on hand, sometimes I read it to my sister, and other times when I start to lose my voice I’ll just use an app to read it for me, and edit as I go!
Editing: Step 5- Betas + Mom
A month or two
I may repeat the above steps several times before I send it off to betas, or I may ask my Mom to read it before the betas. Either way, one of my last steps is to make sure my google doc is somewhat formatted and then put out sign-ups and send the novel out to Betas. I try to keep up with them as they read too, but that doesn’t always happen.
Editing: Step 6- Feedback
A few weeks
Unless someone noticed a serious plot hole and I need some major revisions, at this point, I put all the feedback together and somehow wrangle it into a novel. I also make sure to figure out a release date at this point.
Editing: Step 7- Grammarly
My final step before formatting, which is another category entirely, is to put the whole document (chapter by chapter) through Grammarly and double-check spelling/etc. If I’m worried I might run it through another spell checker too.
At any rate, there you have my overly complicated writing process! At some point I’ll share how I keep everything organized with my system of sticky notes and binders.
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