Similar to a writer’s content, their process in which brought them to the final draft varies too. I am not familiar with the process other writers and novelists take, so maybe this assumption is a long shot. Either way, I like to believe that my own process is different and the least bit unique. I can’t say that for certainty, so you will just have to read for yourself.
Step One: Think, Think, Think, and Repeat
Before I begin writing or outlining, I must think of a general plot idea. The general plot idea is something that can be summarized in a sentence or two. It is brief, far from in-depth and is in no way extensive or intimidating. During this first step, it is also where I think about other aspects of my pending book. I think about the characters, the setting, the point-of-view, etc. There is definitely a lot of thinking that goes into the first step, but the more decided on now will make all future steps more easy.
Step Two: Expand Twice
After the short sentence summary, I expand the plot from there, creating a much longer and in-depth paragraph, something possibly read on the back of a book or on the inside flap. Next, I expand and add more detail by outlining the story, sorting the content into bullet points. The old writer in me would place the bullet points into chapters. Now, I let the chapter unfold themselves and I am more lenient with what gets featured in which chapter. It creates more freedom in the flow and in the what-feels-right factor.
Step Three: Title Time
I love to title and name things, which might be why it takes a considerable amount of time to name each of my characters. Anyway, it is because of my excitement to create titles that I must settle on my book’s title before any writing actually begins. I do know that it is most common for writers to name their work after its completed, for me however, it is just the reverse. I will say that knowing the name of your craft does make the production process and visualization of it plastered in bookstores appear more real and vivid. I also hope to bring back the routine of naming chapters in longer text. Chapter names shouldn’t just be for children’s short stories.
Step Four: Chapter One
The time has finally arrived to begin writing my story. It is the most exciting and exhilarating part, having a fresh page in front of me. I am able to initiate and spark numerous series of events. However, the first chapter is known to be the most challenging to write. It is essentially the most judged chapter in a story, as it sets the scene and pace for how spectacular or disastrous the book will be. While we can’t judge a book by its cover, the first chapter can be judged, whether or not it is fair. Writing the first chapter is typically a struggle for me. I believe it is a lot of pressure for other writers too. And that is totally okay! It is a fact we must accept and embrace in order to make our writing sharper.
Step Five: Just Keep Going
From here, it is a roller coaster of ups and downs, loops and drops. I continue to power through all of the sentences, pages, and chapters that follow. I typically like to reach 300 pages and 20 chapters in my books. However, these numbers and limits might be different for you. It is simply a preference. The process of writing an entire book differs as well. It is likely to take an entire year, however. Of course, writer’s block will sneak up on me, adding another layer of struggle and race against time. Each writing experience is nothing shy of a brand new adventure.
Step Six: Edit, Revise, Finalize
After the entire book is written, it is time to re-read, edit, revise, and finalize each page. How I picture this stage is that it will never equal the time it took me to write the book. Instead, it will be double. If I write a book in six months, I assume I will be working on the editing and revision part for 12 months, if not more. This rule may not always be accurate, but it is just my findings and theories. I also try not to view editing and revising as annoying or an inconvenience. I try to see it just as exciting as the writing part. After this step, the next part would be to reach out to publishing companies, agents, etc. and try to get my hopefully masterpiece published. This is something I have continuously been striving for since senior year of high school. Now that I am writing the same story for the ninth time, I hope a physical copy is in my future.
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