I love this picture. I think if I had to use a typewriter then this is exactly what my office would like. I just finished my rough draft for Isle of Dawn and I was talking the other day with someone about how I go about writing when I sit down to start on a new novel. I have now finished my third book and I think I have gotten into a groove that works for me. There are many people that talk to me about the writing process and I thought I would share what exactly I go through to get it to where I want it to be before I publish.
The Rough Draft: I think this term aptly describes what your first finished product is when you write your book. It is not a first draft, it is rough, it is riddled with errors and probably is missing many things that you forget to add into your story but this is why it’s called a rough draft. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be cohesive enough for you expand on it when you go to revise and edit. My routine for writing a chapter is simple. I write it out and then I go back over and read through it one time before I move on to the next chapter. I try to fix any major errors but I do not like to get caught up in a total edit because honestly if I’m on a roll I don’t want to take the time away from continuing with writing out my story. I do usually think of things that I wanted to add an hour or two later and try to write notes down so I don’t forget.
The First Draft: I am now a big proponent of taking a week or two off after you write your rough draft. You need to separate yourself from your manuscript so that you can relax your overactive mind before you start the real work of rewriting your story. I love this part. I think because it is fun to go over what you have written and I almost feel like it’s writing a whole new book all over again. I do not get caught up in the fixing of grammar or rewriting sentences with my first draft. To me this is the time to expand on your story and try to make sure everything that you wanted to get across to the reader is written out to the best of your ability.
The Second Draft: The second draft is the probably the most mentally and psychically exhausting part of the process for me. This is the time when you must try to go over every sentence, every punctuation mark, and you also have to make sure when you added to your rough draft from your first draft that those additions flow seamlessly into the story. It is a pain in the ass but one every writer has to put themselves through to make sure their book is the way they want it to be for their readers.
The Third & Fourth Drafts: The next step after you finish your second draft is to again take a few days off to decompress before you dive right back in again. Your third and fourth drafts are pretty similar I think. You read and reread every word several times before your vision gets blurry and you chase a bottle of Tylenol with a big old glass of wine. I always say that you know you’re done when you have memorized every sentence and paragraph of your book. Basically when you think you’re going to throw up if you have to read it anymore is when it is done and ready to be sent off to your editor who will still find errors and tear it apart.
Conclusion: Writing a book is hard and not for the faint of heart. You have to be dedicated and you also have to truly love what you have written because these words and thoughts that you have so painstakingly taken the time to pour over is not just for your enjoyment but it is also for many other people’s pleasure as well. In the end always remember that your story is what truly matters. I’ve never heard of a book being called a well written piece of crap. It’s the guts and the gooey insides that matter most.
*Disclaimer- This blog post was rewritten four times before I published. Insert cheeky grin here*