The Process

The Craft | The Process | The Writing Life

Sure, we all know the basic steps: Create an outline, draft the story, edit, revise, rinse, repeat.  Do this a couple hundred times until perfection is achieved.  Or not.

Getting Started:  Hey, I know what I’ll do—I’ll write a book! For kids! That shouldn’t be so tough…should it? [insert maniacal laughter] Ummmm…now what?

First Draft:  Yay!! Congrats! You’ve finished your storyboard! Now go eat some chocolate, celebrate, and get a good night’s rest because tomorrow, yes tomorrow, the real work begins!  You didn’t really think you were done, did you?

[more maniacal laughter]

Revision:  Now it’s time for revision.  Yup.  Edits, revisions, cutting your beloved words out of that manuscript, rewriting and adding new words—it’s all got to happen.  You think your baby is perfect and wouldn’t change a thing? Maybe you should check out some of these links instead.

Research: Sure, you know what you want to write about. But what if you don’t know anything about it?

Crit Groups & Beta Readers:  Crit groups/partners and beta readers can be a godsend or your worst nightmare.  That’s why it’s important to choose the right group for you.  If you write middle-grade, the last thing you want is to have a romance author read your book.  The feedback will be irrelevant and potentially damaging, especially if you fall into the first-time-writer-trying-to-please-everyone category.  Find a crit group and beta readers that have knowledge in middle-grade books, trends, and interests.

Timelessness & Marketability:  What no one tells you after you’ve finished that novel is that maybe, just maybe, it might have to be shelved! Say it isn’t so! Unfortunately, it may be true.  Publishing goes through trends just like clothing and hairstyles. (And no, I never wore skids, dreamed of driving a Trans-Am or got a spiral perm and curled my bangs into a 6-inch-tall rooster on top of my head.)  That great magical-realism book you just finished reading that inspired you to write your own? Yeah, you’re a wee bit late.  When something is hot on the market, usually the trend is over by the time you write your manuscript and query.  But never fear!  Trends always come back!  Now excuse me please while I go and curl my bangs.

Querying:  So now you have to write a query letter to attract an agent.  No problem!  You just have to sum up your 50,000-word baby into three small paragraphs.  Snort.  Good luck with that.

Publication: You made it this far? Seriously? Then why are you still reading “The Process” section of this webpage? Shouldn’t you be moving on to “The Writing Life” by now? Go on. Shoo!