My Favorite Parts of the Novel Writing Process

The more I write, the more I learn about myself and my writing habits. I'm currently in three different stages of three projects. My first YA novel is getting ready for release. All major edits and revisions are done. Formatting is done. I need to do one more round of proofreading once I have a proof copy in hand.

I sent The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach (the third in the Zelda series) to the editor a few days ago. In a few weeks, I'll get the edits back, revise, and work on polishing the manuscript for release.

I am also about 20,000 words into a first draft of a brand new YA fantasy novel.

Through this process, I've learned my favorite parts of the novel-writing process. I love the early stages of a novel. I spend time creating a broad outline of my novels before I start writing. Even though writing the words for the first draft are difficult, I love experiencing the story take off in unexpected directions. My first draft is about getting the story down, getting the words on to the page.  Immediately after I finish the first draft, I go back and put in more details into the story about the characters, the setting, etc, especially in the early chapters.

I set the manuscript away for roughly a month after the first draft and then return to it for the major revision stage.  These middle revision stages are the toughest. After I complete my own edits and revisions, I send the novel to beta readers and an editors. I wait for comments and the revisions with questions looming in my head– Will they like the story? Did I miss a big plot hole? Did they see that part coming? It's a bit nerve-wracking for me.

If I survive the middle round of edits and revisions, I don't mind the final stages of polishing and formatting. I enjoy the mindless nature of getting words formatted for ebook and paperback form after the tough revision stage. Of course, receiving the first paperback proof copy is a joy (even when I notice a typo or error).

What are your favorite parts of the writing process?

Moving Forward - The Revision Process

The writing, revision, and editing process is different for every writer. As a relatively new and young writer, my process continues to evolve, but I am nailing down a pattern to stick with in the future. Here's the process so far. The first part is simply writing the first draft. The goal of the first draft is to get everything down without worrying too much about sentence structure and grammar. Instead, I want the essence of the story written.

The revision process starts with what I am calling my first reading. During my first reading, I read for content, story arc, and character development. I also make grammar edits and sentence structure, but mostly because I can't help myself when I reread. The goal of the first reading is to eliminate plot holes and ensure the story makes sense.

After the first reading, I send the draft to a few beta readers with a few simple questions. Do you like the story? Do you like the characters? What could be improved in the story? While the beta readers have the story, I take a break from the current project for at least a month. The month long break gives me distance from the project and a fresh perspective when I return.

When the beta readers finish and send back comments, I move on to the second reading. Before I read the comments from my fabulous beta readers, I start my second reading. The second reading is similar to the first reading. I am looking for plot holes, areas in the story which need more development, or parts that need to be removed. I write down these notes, chapter by chapter.

When I finish my second reading, I look through the notes from my beta readers. For my novel project, I found some of their revisions matched mine. But, a few didn't. I evaluated those suggestions to see if they would improve the story or if I wanted the story to go in that direction. I ended up agreeing with a few, but not all. Either way, the beta readers are extremely valuable.

After the second reading and beta readers, it's time for serious work on the second draft. I go through chapter by chapter editing and revising content, grammar, and sentence structure. It's a thorough and slow process. I am currently on this stage of the process for my novel (tentatively titled The Photograph). When I finish the second draft, the next steps are still a little fuzzy. I think I will send again to a beta reader, then to a professional editor. I am also going to query this book, so I will do that once the second draft is done.

That's my revision process for my novel so far. With Z published, I'm focused on revisions of the novel which is super exciting.  I can't wait to get that work finished and out into the world.

What does your revision process look like?