Are You Done Yet?

Written Dec 29, 2022
Last updated Dec 29, 2022

What are the steps to writing a novel and why the heck am I not done yet?

Excerpt from Chapter 1 — Passover Seder

STEP 1 (Beginning)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Come up with a fabulous idea. (2008)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Do some research and outlines, get all excited. (2008)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Run ideas around in my head over and over, committing little to nothing to paper. (2008-2017)

STEP 2 (No, really, now I’m beginning)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Join a writer’s group to make me accountable. (2017)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Really buckle down to write this screenplay, get some software, read some books. (2017)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Finally admit I have no idea how to write a screenplay (and what was I thinking, anyway?), take a group member’s advice to write a novel instead. (2017)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Look for my old outline to get started. Realize I never actually wrote it down, just in my head. Curse. (2017)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Write a new outline (I can do it!). (2017)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Write a chapter or two from the middle of the book. Cause it’s clanging in my head and this is the only way to get some peace. Present to my writer’s group. (2017)

STEP 3 (First Draft)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Because I can’t write it as a screenplay but it’s still a movie in my head, I’m going to make an illustrated book. Can I draw? No. But what a great idea, right? (2018)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Junk the illustrated book business and start writing it as a real novel. Go back and fix earlier chapters. (2018)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Alright, this novel has a prologue, an epilogue, and 10 chapters in-between. (2018)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Write. Write more. Keep going. Looks like the book will have 30 chapters now. (2018)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Wait, I need to add more earlier chapters. And renumber everything. And edit. (2018)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Discover StackExchange, find myself endlessly diverted. But get tons of amazing feedback from the stacks Writing, Worldbuilding, and more. Stay with it until it implodes 🙁 . (2018-2020)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Keep going. Break up chapters that are too long and add others so the novel expands like an ever-lengthening tent pole. (2019)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.pngFind myself doing so much research that my spouse begs me to start a blog to keep track of it all. So I do. This blog. Right here. As of 12/29/22, there are 60 published blog posts and 14 drafts of posts I’m still working on. (2019)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Realize my timeline is wrong and add a few weeks to a section. Move chapters around and do a massive rewrite and restructuring to account for what isn’t a simple change. (2020)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Keep going. Add more chapters. Try to remember that writing stuff in my head doesn’t count. (2020-2022)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Almost to the end! So close I can taste it. Should I buckle down and write a bunch or should I find ways to procrastinate, getting out only one chapter every 6 weeks or so for my writer’s group presentation? Damn. (2022)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Wait wait, I’m picking up speed. I finished chapter 79, the second to last chapter!! (2022)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Okay, chapter 80 needs to be broken into two. I mean three. I mean four. (2022)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png Alright, this novel has a prologue, an epilogue, and 83 chapters in-between. AND THEY’RE DONE!!!!! (December 2022)
Excerpt from Chapter 32 — The Last Plague

STEP 4 (Second Draft)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.pngGo through all the chapters to make sure they’re consistent, in the right voice, etc. Take notes for things to research or check. Delighted to find every chapter in excellent shape, only one of which needs major writing, the rest only minor edits.
Go through all the notes I took from the read-through, plus notes I’ve been keeping for years as needed. (2023) (This is a long step, it will take a while)
Do the research and make all needed changes. (2023) (This is a long step, it will take a while)

STEP 5 (Beta Readers, Sensitivity Readers, & Expert Readers)

Find my readers and send the draft out. Beta Readers are friends and family willing to give an honest critique to better the book. Sensitivity Readers use their lived experience to help me make sure I’ve got things right when writing about cultures that are not my own. They can be friends or family or paid readers. Experts are expert in a topic I cover and can also be friends, family, or paid readers. (2023)
Incorporate all the feedback and make necessary edits. (2023)

STEP 6 (Third Draft)

Do another read-through. (2023)
Copy edit. Using professionals for this step. (2023)

STEP 7 (Submit)

Send out to agents. (2023)
No bites? Send out to smaller publishers that don’t require agents. (2023)

STEP 8 (Publish)

Have I done this before? No. There are a bunch of tasks here that I can add in later. (202?)

STEP 9 (Bask)

Ya know, not all the fantasy is in the novel. (202?)
Libros antiguos en Baeza

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