The Process

5 Aug

Last night several conversations collided on Twitter and now there’s a big misconception that I can write a book in like a day (Don’t tell The Agent that!) – So, since so many people had questions, I thought I’d give my run down of the last few years and my plans for the future – I know, fun stuff.

Just over 3.25 years ago, I started writing. A fantasy. A big fantasy. Learning as I went. I would spend 3 weeks writing like a maniac till all hours and then kind of float around for 2-3 weeks trying to figure out what I was doing. Then a little 1is week crash till I was frantic to write again. This went on for 1.5 years. During this time, I also wrote a short and my first Secret Book.  I also found Fast Draft with Candace Havens which put more of a structure around my crazed writing.

The first book in the Secret series I meant to Nano…Which turned into I meant to Fast Draft…Which turned into being drafted in 11 days. Go ahead and laugh. I didn’t mean to write it in 11 days. And, since The Agent already thinks I’m paranoid and neurotic, we might as well add obsessive to that too.

So I put Secret one aside and went back to my fantasy. Because I.Write.Fantasy. (I do. Really. This rom com thing, it’s just a phase…except for that paranoral and the retelling…shut up, Bria!)

Then, I went on a drive. The drive took about 5.5 months. It was  lovely. I didn’t write anything. BIG FAILURE. There’s 1/6th of my time doing nothing but driving!!! No new words!!! One rewrite for an agent who “loved the book. all of us in the agency read it and just loved it. we just need a fuller ending and 1 tweak on a major character” and then who passed. *grumble and over it* What was I thinking to not write for that long? But it was one heck of a trip.

At the end of the trip, I met up with a friend to do a 10 day Fast Draft (it’s supposed to be 14, but she could only stay for 10, so we were doing 10 together and then 4 after that) – So, yeah. I wrote it in 9. I became about obsessed. The 8th night she made me go to bed. The 9th night I refused. I wrote 58 pages. That will never happen again. It was this book. This is not normal, I realize that.

Then I put that book away and continued on the rest of my trip.  I took a week-1.5 weeks to clean Secret book one up – got Critted – and Gwen Hayes and Mr. Hayes made me query it. Shockingly, people wanted it. Really, I was completely surprised.

So, there was that. Then my revisions started. These are not going so super-smoothly. Learning to revise to letter is the first thing that I’ve felt like I’m struggling to learn. I’m not saying I’m good at the other stuff. I’m only saying that learning the other parts of writing were more easily absorbed. During a revision pass, waiting for word from The Agent, I did a quick read thru of Secret book 2, realized it didn’t suck. Cleaned it up and sent it off for the “Is this vibing right” read – Reader agreed (thanks MG!)  vibe good.  It’s a huge blessing for me to be learning this with a really bright agent, instead of an editor who might have had a hit taken out on me at this point.

Revisions have been a back and forth thing for several months. But, needing a break, I took out my draft of Secret Book 2 and did some self revisions. Unfortunately (and this is where the twitter conversations started) I had lost my book map (The tool I create when doing my read thru. See HERE for description) when my compter died. So, I spent 3 days doing a new book map, 3 days doing revisions, got my crits, 2 more days fixing the thing that bothered (in different ways tho,huh) the fabulous Gwen Hayes and Jeannie Lin. And now I’m waiting for my lovely proofreader to tell me she’s caught all my dyslexic or normal-blind edit junk.

That’s the past.

The future:

I want to continue to Fast Draft. Everyone go join Candace Haven’s yahoo group and learn the skill. It as fabulous because it focused what I was already doing so I could do it better.

I want to have 3-5 projects running –> I need to let things sit.I need to jump around. One CP has said the best thing about me is I can hold her whole book in my head. Well, I hold my whole book too. I need to get it out so I can see it honestly. Having several projects in FD, Read Thru & Edits, Revisions, Sitting…and now Research (very excited about this one)… will give me the chance to let things sit while still working. Unlike when I was learning and kept working on the same project for a year.

That was fine because I learned a ton and it was a bigger book (its mythology, four cultures, 4-10 POVs, war, espionage, several love stories, betrayal, blah blah blah, etc.) But now, I need some structure to move forward and not get stuck (or go on any more long drives)

Will I burn out? Maybe. In the Future Set Up is definite down time. I’m either writing or I’m not. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s true. I’m 10000% in OR I’m reading and watching movies and vegging.

 Now I’m back to working on the revisions for Secret series book 1 – I’m hoping I can get it right this time. I know that I’m feeling that it has to be perfect, because I’ve already had 2 goes at it. I want it rocking and ready and leaving the nest. So, wish me luck!

And now that you see it isn’t a book in a week, it’s a longer process. The sitting time definitely adds. It also helps. I’m sure I’d just keep redoing the same things if I didn’t get away from things. So, in the end, we’re talking probably 3 months for a book? I’m guessing at once I get the flow going (and don’t go or any more long drives) before outside revisions.

I would *LOVE* to hear what you think and your process. I honestly believe you can always streamline anything. So, let’s all bang out our bugs together, because my Going Forward Goal is to try to have 3 books a year. – What about you?

5 Responses to “The Process”

  1. Amanda Berry August 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    I would love to be able to do more than a book a year. It seems that’s all I’ve been able to manage no matter how long that one book took because there are revisions on other books and then books I start but then put to the side because of something else. I loved doing NaNo. I haven’t been able to commit to Fast Draft and would love to have the stamina to work more than a few hours a day. I’m working on it, by next year I want to be working (and by that I mean working/working) six hours a day while the kids are in school. I can do it. I know I can, I just have to want it bad enough. Right? 😀

  2. briaq August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Between this and a DM I got, maybe I’ll do something about surviving Fast Draft while working (I include being a SAHM in that category) – You can do anything Amanda. You’re so smart and I know that if things 6 hours a day is what you want, you’ll totally make that happen!

  3. Scribereglyph August 11, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Wow, didn’t know you wrote fantasy. Interesting, lol.

    I must also work on multiple projects at once. One Manuscript and One Spec Script at a time. I have to jump around as well so I won’t get tired of, sick of, or burnt out on any one particular project.

  4. briaq August 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    LOL – THat’s so funny to me because I used to think I *only* wrote fantasy. I’m thinking of entering it in a contest and have two chapter 1s so I just pulled it out to see which one would go…fun times.

    Yeah, burn out is real. I have learned how real burn out is 🙂

  5. the Success Ladder August 12, 2010 at 4:02 am #

    Great article, thanks for sharing this. I have subscribed to your RSS feed and am looking forward to reading more from you.
    Keep up the good work and don’t stop posting please.

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