Hello, hello. I am so thrilled to be involved in the IC Blog tour this summer! I’d first like to give a huge thanks to Meghan Bliss, from The Blissful Poet, who invited me to the tour. If you’re interested, check out her blog here. It’s pretty sweet.
For my regular readers, if you’re interested in more information about the IC Blog tour, here’s a link to their site. If you’re a blogger, you should definitely get involved if you can.
So, now on to the blog questions.
1. What are your tips for creating meaningful content?
I write blog posts the same way I write everything else. I outline. I start out with a theme for the month, like writing for parents this month. Then, I think about my weekly columns, and what I can say that pertains to the months theme. So, for Check This Out, that is posted on Wednesday, I thought about what sort of blogs and apps I could suggest for other writing parents. I thought about what I could say or suggest concerning the topic, and I make a list. If I come up with more ideas than I’ve got days I want to post, I decide which one I like least, and cross it off the list. Then I sit down once a week, and write all the posts I intend to publish this week.
2. What steps have you taken to writing a book?
Oh, goodness, like I haven’t bored everyone with this already. Alright, here’s the thing. I’ve written five books. Two have gotten through multiple drafts. Two are from my fantasy series, Woven. The other three I’ve put on a high shelf because I’ve realized for one reason or another that I’m not ready to write them yet. Not that the stories are bad, just that I’m not ready to write them. This is the method I’ve used to write all of my books so far.
- I start by brainstorming for a few days. Now that I’m working on a series, I’ve got notes all over the place before I even start this, so step one’s got to be collecting all that mess. Then, I break out my three favorite brainstorming tools; lists, mind maps and free writing.
- Once I’ve got some idea of what I want to do with this book, I start on my outline. I flesh this out first on index cards, so I can move around my ideas visually. I’ll transition this onto Evernote later, so I can color code it and still have plenty of mobility. But for some reason, my brain works best on index cards. This process can take up to a week.
- Then I start with the rough draft. I’ll probably throw out my outline at least twice, but that’s okay. Nothing’s set in stone until it’s published. Generally I have to write my first draft on paper, in college ruled composition notebooks, with Le Pens. I find recently that I’ve been writing books from two characters points of view, so I stick to two ink colors, and change color with voice. All of my notes are also written with these colors, so I can keep better track. It also works as sort of a mental trick for me. I know that with this color, I’m talking in this voice. I’ve written first drafts in as little as six weeks, but my last one took me six months! However long it takes, I like to let the book sit for six weeks after that. If you’re playing along at home, this first draft has already taken seven months. Writing a book takes time, dammit!
- Now, the time has come for the red pen. I’ll go through the whole thing with my red pen and a legal pad, and just toss down first impressions. What worked, what didn’t. What character do I need to hear more from, and who’s not making it to draft two. Then I rewrite by chapter. This generally takes six months, and is the longest part of the process for me. Now we’re up to a year and a month.
- Draft three comes next. Hopefully by this time I’m tidying up. Working on the language, character development, that sort of thing. This takes about three months, and it’s the draft I’ll show to my beta readers. My beta readers take at least two to read it. So now we’re up to a year and a half.
Since we’re on the subject, I like to stagger my books. While I let Broken Patterns sit for six weeks, I finished the final draft of my thriller novel. While I gave Broken Patterns to my beta readers, I wrote the rough draft of Starting Chains, it’s sequel. Now that it’s in it’s cool down phase, I’m working on draft four of Broken Patterns. And speaking of Draft four.
- Draft four is the first one that has any outside input. For me, a lot of that input comes from my husband, who is a long time fantasy reader and not at all shy about telling me if the book sucks. This takes about four months, and so now we’re at a year and ten months.
- Finally, draft five, the final polish draft. I print draft four out, and red pen it again. This will be the draft that an agent sees, so it’s got to be as close to perfect as I can make it. This takes about three months. So, all together, a whole book from conception to finish takes me two years and one month.
3. What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to let go of something that isn’t working, in life or in writing. Don’t throw good time or money after bad.
4. What are you working on now, and how can we, as a community, help?
I’m going to be putting out my very first self published collection of short fiction later this year. I’d love some feedback when I do so. More than that, I want to help you. I blog about writing here almost every day, and the best part of my day is when I see someone’s read one of my blogs. To paraphrase the most quoted movie of all time, help me help you by checking us out.
That’s all for me! My friend over at Deliawrites is up next week! Here’s a bio, and a link to her site. Don’t forget to check her out next week!