Please give a warm welcome to NA author, Chelsea Cameron!
How I Write A Book
I don't know about you, but I'm fascinated about writers and HOW they write. Their process, where they sit, do they listen to music, do they work all day, or in short bursts? People ask me about my process all the time, so I thought I might break it down for you. My novels, from start to final draft, can take anywhere from two to five months. I did a novella in under two weeks, but that was because it was short. Most of my full-length novels range from 85-105 thousand words. BUT HOW DO YOU WRITE THE WORDS, CHELSEA? you ask.
I can write a first draft in about two and a half to three weeks. I've tried to write one in two weeks, but I had two other books to put through final edits at the time, so I didn't make that goal, but that won't stop me from striving for it. For most writers, this is an extremely fast draft. When I am completely focused, I can write from 2 to 2.5 thousand words in an hour. It's taken me years of typing hours and hours a day to get to this speed. I now type faster than I can write by hand. Notice also, I said the word "focused". That means I have my music on and I don't take breaks, or have any distractions. Most often I have to get out of my house to get this kind of productivity. This does not happen every day. Some days I get 500 words. But I try to write a lot the next day to make up for it. I don't outline or plan any of my books. I have a rough idea of who the characters are, what the big conflict is, and how I want it to end. That's it. This is another thing that I think allows me to write so fast.
Okay, so I have a draft. Then I spend usually about a week (entire days, 8 to 12+ hours) editing that first draft. I usually go through it twice before I show it to anyone. Sometimes I have to do rewrites that can take longer than that week. It all depends on the book. Then I have a few trusted beta readers that I send my work to. It can take them anywhere from a few days, to a week to read through, make comments and then send it back to me. Then I take those, compile them and do another draft, and then another until I'm so sick of the thing I never want to see it again. I literally want to set it on fire and watch it burn.
BUT IT'S NOT OVER YET. Then, it is time for my editor. She takes about two weeks to do a content edit (for style, story structure, consistency) and a copy edit for errors. I get back a document that is usually bleeding with comments and a separate document with questions about the story and changes she suggests. Getting edits usually sends me into a depression, and I avoid them for a few days. I'm always afraid that the book is unfixable. But it never is.
After I finish edits, it's off to the formatter, and then I'm ready to upload on release day!
It seems really boring when it's broken down like this, but it definitely isn't when I'm in the middle of it. Especially edits. Those are very unboring and sometimes they make me cry.
So there you have it. My process. Of course I omitted the parts where I get distracted by Twitter, or my friends insist I spend time with them, or all of the words I delete.
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