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 Outline||1||I 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 Draft||2,000 words a day||I 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.|
|Break||1 week||Taking 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 Draft||Approx 5,000 words a day||For 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 Readers||2 weeks||I 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 Draft||2 – 3 days||Often, 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 Editing||Variable. Often 2-3 weeks minimum||At 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 Draft||3-5 days||Again, 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.
- An Adventurer’s Heart took about 2 1/2 months including editing for around 50k words
- Redeemer of the Dead will take 3.5 months for 90k words
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.