Let me start by pointing out that this is my process, not others.  However, currently this is the way a book for me is created along with the timelines of development.

Plot Outline1I generally put together a rough plot outline.  This is actual writing time to put it on paper.  By the time I’m ready to write a plot outline, I’ve got a shaky idea of what is going to happen already.  However, writing it down often crystalizes my thoughts.  I’m an exploratory writer though, so what is written in a plot outline and what ends up on paper can be quite different.
First Draft2,000 words a dayI write approximately 2,000 words a day if I’m focused.  For the System Apocalypse books, each book is roughly 90,000 words.  That works out to about 45 days of straight writing.  At best, that’s a month and a half if I don’t hit any writing blocks.
Break1 weekTaking a small break lets me re-read the book fresh.  Often, I’ll be editing or writing a new book during this period.  This break lets my brain ‘reset’ and find gaps in the plot to fill in or to review the second draft.
Second DraftApprox 5,000 words a dayFor 90k words, that’s approximately 18 days. 5k words is actually a bit conservative here, I often end up getting obesses with fixing things and do more.
Beta Readers2 weeksI give my Beta Readers 2 weeks to check out the book.  The last time, they all came back to me within 4 days.  Good beta readers are so important – they can tell me if I’m doing something really silly with the plot.  Or they find plot holes for things I forgot about.
Revising 2nd Draft2 – 3 daysOften, there’s a few scenes that need to be brushed up or new scenes to write.  Redeemer of the Dead saw me writing 2 new scenes from comments and rewriting about another half-dozen
Professional EditingVariable.  Often 2-3 weeks minimumAt this point, I’m ready to send it to my editor.  I do NOT use a development editor at this time (who offers professional critique of the book’s plot / etc.).  Mostly, they are doing line editing and proof-reading.  I have to book editors weeks in advance, sometimes months.  In Redeemer of the Dead’s case, it’ll take about a month from when they are booked to start
Third Draft3-5 daysAgain, this is variable.  The editor comes back with fixes, I go through the document and fix issues.  Depending on the level of editing (and who I’m using), I might get notes about scenes that need fixing which means I’ll be writing new scenes or fixing older scenes.

Now, there are a bunch of things that can happen in-between:

  • Alpha readers might be brought in.  Sometimes, as a writer you have no idea if you’re on the right course.  Alpha readers who end up reading a REALLY rough draft get to check that
  • Developmental Editing is an option that happens after the First Draft (or perhaps even during the course of the book).  I don’t do that because I’m poor and paying $0.08 per word would make the book cost US$7,000 before it was even published.
  • Multiple readthroughs / edits for the 1st / 2nd draft might occur.  I occasionally pull out the book before I send it to the editor for more fixing.  Often this is to fix phrasing / clumsy sentence construction.
  • Writer’s block & burn-out.  Yeah, writing at this pace can be a lot.  So taking a few dysy off happens.  Sometimes I run away and spend a weekend reading and with the family.
  • Work!  I do have a day-job and if that eats up my time / energy, writing slows down.

You can see how writing really varies depending on length of book and inspiration.


Again, remember, this is my own process.  It also is evolving constantly.  When I first started writing, there was no plot outline, no professional editing.  It was just write for the fun of it.

Questions? Comments?