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Discussion Post: What's your process?

Now that I'm revising what will be my fifth published book (RIPPLE, coming in July 2011), I've sort of nailed down a process, to get from That Big Idea to That Finished Book. It's not the prettiest process, but it works for me.

It goes something like this:

Drafting: 6-12 ish weeks, depending on how long it will be and whether I'm writing it on deadline. Also, I may already have the first three to five chapters done if I sold it on proposal. This draft is a hot mess. 

Shaping: 2 weeks. I take That Crappy Thing I Wrote and solve the obvious problems. I keep working on it while I send it to....

Critique partners: 1-2 weeks. I usually send my project to Cyn and one other person. Cyn has no problem being blunt and adding comments like WTF??  all over my manuscript. This is why I trust her. She doesn't waste time actually complimenting my writing when she can tear it apart instead.

Pre-Revision revising: 1 week: I take the comments and revise accordingly, then I turn it in to my editor.

Revisions: My editor sends me a revision letter. They usually give me 1 month.

During this time, I:

Read through the draft and turn it into a big mess-- I cut the scenes that no longer belong, and then add asterisked remarks, like *New scene with Cole goes here* and *this is one of the "telling" type chapters she was talking about* 

Once it  has more holes than a colander, I go back and start at the beginning, and actually address the asterisked remarks and write the new scenes.

Then I read it again, and make sure everything works together and scenes transition properly. Lots of new paragraphs and sensory details get added at this stage. It's also when I start fleshing in the character's internal arc.

Then I send it to Kinkos, where it is printed and punched and put into a three ring binder. And I read it again. I do this because for whatever reason I read slower and pick up on details more so than on the computer.

Then I open the doc and incorporate all of the hard-copy changes.

Then I read it one last time and send it off. So yeah, I guess that's the six-pass revision method.

Depending on the book, my editor may then do a mini-revision letter along with line edits, and I'll be given 2-3 weeks this time.

Then it goes to copy edits and typsetting. Then I proof it another time or two.

By then I'm sick of looking at it. :-)

So, what's your process? Do you revise as you write your first draft, so that it's sparkly by the time you write THE END? Or do you write a word-vomit draft like me? When do you share it with critique partners?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
Hahaha I compliment your writing... sometimes. :)
Sep. 20th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
Very revealing! I'm seriously loving these posts, Mandy. Are all those times back to back or are there resting and waiting times involved in between?

As for my process, well I'm sure once I have an agent and editor involved the timeline may change, but I definitely do word vomit draft, then some heavy editing/rewriting before I let CPs and betas see anything. In fact, I'm amazed that your rough takes longer than your editing process. It's backwards for me.
Sep. 20th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
My process
I am currently writing my first WIP so it will be interesting to see what my process looks like 6 projects from now, BUT this is what I am doing now:

I took about a month to really delve into my main characters and come up with their bios, as well as come up with 60 possible plot points that could happen. I didn't expect all of these to happen but by coming up with so many, I made myself think outside the box. Then I added details, combined points and got rid of points. Then I was ready to start writing.
I write a scene a day, based on that outline I wrote previously. After writing that scene, I do a mini-edit, scanning for frequently used words and adding some sensory details.
I just finished what is basically Act One of my project, so I had a few critique partners and readers look at it for comments. Then I revised based on those comments. I am now starting Act Two.
I LOVED reading your process! Thank you so much for sharing.
Happy Writing!
Sep. 20th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth
I am the anonymous post above--didn't realize that, sorry! Whenever I get anonymous posts on my blog, I obsess for forever who it could've been. Probably just one of my weird quirks, ha!
Anyway thanks for the post.
Happy Writing!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
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