In My Writing Process (1), I revealed my need to talk to imaginary people.
But now I have moved on and address profanities and OCD tendencies. (Just in case you’re curious, I have finished the very rough draft of Book 3, Volume 1 in the Fantasy series, so this particular list is based more on that.)
(Yes, I said Book 3, Volume 1. Not version 1. I’ve accepted that this is going to be a 2-3 volume book, with each volume being full length or very nearly so. There’s just too much going on to lay it all out in one book.)
(As of this writing, I haven’t actually started the editing process of Book 3 vol. 1 – I’ve only copied the files to a Version 2 file and printed them out, but this is how it’s gone in the past, so hopefully the trend will continue for the future.)
In this segment of My Writing Process (2):
1 – The rough draft has nagged at the back of my mind for a while, even though I’ve tried to ignore it and work on other things, like editing a different manuscript. Now I can’t hold the brain itches back any longer and I read the rough draft. My hands literally twitch as I do this. I’m so excited to bathe in my awesomeness!
2 – My awesomeness is distinctly less awesome than I remembered. The initial goal is to read the draft first. I get to about page 3 before I feel compelled to start scribbling with pens of multiple colors – any color except black. WTF was I thinking? Did I pass basic lit and grammar in college or what? Oh, no. I DID NOT WRITE THIS. @#$*^&@#$*!!!!!!!! THAT MAKES – LITERALLY – NO DAMNED SENSE. WAS I HIGH WHEN I WROTE THIS?
This is also the point I start cursing because I discover the colored pens I purchased for just this occasion aren’t fine-tip. Or my highlighter is shot. Or something. It doesn’t matter though, because it takes too much time away from the manuscript now to go to the store and buy something different, so I make do. And curse. A lot. Silently. Because the last thing I need is that parent-teacher meeting in which we discuss Sara or Daniel’s propensity for grown-up words that even grown-ups shouldn’t use but that grown-ups do use, frequently, because things are not as awesome as they should be.
3 – The Manuscript bleeds ink and is bandaged with post-it notes. Whole scenes are crossed out, new scenes written in. Arcane notes indicate where I should change the POV or describe more here. There are glimmers of hope, though. Tiny tidbits of awesome that make me believe the manuscript isn’t beyond saving like a tragic victim of a farming accident. Maybe with a lot of surgeries and dedicated physical therapy we can give it an adequate quality of life.
4 – In the digital files, copy the entire file marked V1. Paste it in the same working file of the overall manuscript and rename it to V2. Edit exclusively in the V2 files.
5 – Digitally re-work the whole manuscript based on my notes that I can barely read because they are scrawled everywhere – in between the double-spaced lines, in the margins, whole scenes written on the backs of pages, obscure symbols and notes that mean I should move this whole section to somewhere over here in Chapter 5, rather than leave it in Chapter 3.
6 – Somewhere around Step 4 in here I start to really pin down my timeline. It’s generally vague in V1 and sometimes not linear – how did I jump from midsummer to late winter? What the hell kind of world did I build? Open an excel spreadsheet that indicates dates, events relevant to the story, chapter number, page count, word count.
7 – Meticulously document the timeline flow.
8 – Meticulously document other bizarre things. I have a HUGE spreadsheet filled with nothing but character names in one column, book appeared in for the second column and a quick summary of who they are (Bob – GL3 – npc magus, dies chapter 2). I have other spreadsheets as well – languages and foreign words I make up, imaginary plants, and so on. I also try to keep my maps updated with this as well.
11 – Meticulously document anything else mentioned in the MS that I deem important for backstory notes – Quotes from supposedly famous people and books, cultural rights, laws, etc. (I’ve been told my explanatory notes for a particular culture I created border on an anthropology/sociology dissertation. All I need are parenthetical citations.).
10 – Double check my research – Is it plausible for Bob to lose consciousness in under five minutes after I have him sustain a puncture wound in the armpit, nicking his brachial artery?
11 – Once I finish the V2, go over the digital manuscript again, make more “teensy” changes.
12 – Obsessively go over each scene to “double check something” until I decide I’m making too many changes to accurately keep track of and copy the file V2 in total and paste it under the main manuscript file as V3. Now I have V1, V2 and V3 as sub files in my Manuscript File for This Particular Book Named This Particular Book.
13 – Around here is when things get irritating. This is when I start going through and looking to delete overused words, adverbs, passive voice and what not. Do I really need this sentence? Can I tighten this up over here? What does this phrase/word/description buy me in the story? It’s easy to get very wordy, so I need to do this to pair things down. It takes about 4-5 hours to get through one chapter. I’m slow – shut up.
14 – Start looking for Beta Readers. I have one that I can only use during the summer because he’s a teacher and while I don’t get exactly what I want out of him, I’m almost guaranteed to get at least one phone call a week saying “I’m at this spot here and I like this” or even “You are spectacularly messed up, Katty. Have you thought about therapy?” I have another who has expressed interest and a third who is mildly curious about what I write. (We’ll see if I need to drag out rabid wombats in order to get commentary back from these people or not). No Beta reader gets anything less than V3 or V4. Preferably Version 4.
15 – Work on something else. Or at least pretend to.
16 – Get slapped upside the head about 3-6 months later with the realization that “Character action X doesn’t make logical sense here. Fix it, dumbass.”
17 – *sigh* Make the V4 file and start messing with that.
18 – For the Fantasy series, I’m finding that I really need to go back every now and again and tweak a little something in order to keep things consistent with The Rules Of The World.
- Question – Why can’t you make up The Rules before this step?
- Answer – I did. Now they are being refined because 3 books ago I had a niggling idea things were going in this direction, but hadn’t gotten to the nit-noid mechanics of it until now because I was working on the nit-noid mechanics of another aspect of The Rules. Shush.
19 – Actually send the manuscript out to Beta Readers. Threaten them with rabid wombats if they don’t respond in a timely fashion.