Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 basic steps to novel writing

Most writers have distinct writing styles and we all develop unique techniques over the years. And yet as particular as most of us are about our writing in general authors do adhere to a few common practices. Whether or not you’re conscious of it all writers follow a natural drafting process.

Let’s take a look at a popular process thread among fiction writers:

1. The beginning
This is the spark that point of initial idea, the inspiration, that moment when we think, “Hey, this could be a book!” 

2. First draft
This is the writer’s initial stab at plotting the story from beginning to end.

3. Cool-off period
This is when most writers take a little time off (anywhere from a few days to a few weeks) to separate themselves from the book physically and emotionally.

4. Second draft
This is when some of the major issues about the story (i.e. plot problems, continuity errors, character development, etc.) are corrected to make the book presentable for a critique partner (CP) and/or beta reader to read. 

5. CP/beta reader
Once you’ve been through the steps outlined above you may be relatively satisfied with the way the story has developed. If so, this is a good time to consider engaging the CP and beta reader to critique your book.

6. Third draft
At this point you’ll incorporate the ideas from the CP and beta readers.

7. Cool-off period, again
Repeat Step 3.

8. Fourth draft/final draft
This is the time for the final run through (i.e. analyze word choices, placement of analogies, awkward wording and paragraph length, grammar, etc.). This is when you need to clean up and refine as much as possible to get the manuscript (MS) ready for a professional set of eyes.

9. Copy editing/professional editing (FYI-this step alone has an entirely separate process)
Most writers have in their arsenal two to three go-to editors we turn to alternately depending on workload and availability.

10. Synopsis/querying (FYI-this step alone has an entirely separate process)
After Step 9 has been finalized (writer and editor will go several more rounds to get the MS to look well enough to publish) it is time to begin working on the synopsis and query drafting, provided of course, that you’re looking to have your work traditionally published. If not, then this may be a good time to consider self-publishing.

Well, that’s all I have to share for now. I hope you found some of the information here useful J

Until next time!