Friday, October 22, 2010

the process of writing

68,000 words into my current work in progress, Grimoire, and this is what I’ve got:

I’ve got I’ve got four files with Grimoire in the name. One is the manuscript itself, 42 fairly short chapters. Two is Grimoire/query/synopsis/notes, which has my current query, a chapter by chapter synopsis, and a who’s who. It also has talents and tricks of the trade (like spells, charms, potions, and devices, to name a few), notable events occurring in 1806, things to do (like Ascot or the Henley Regatta),some interesting information regarding books of magic and all my references. Three is the file I’m currently sharing with my two utterly awesome critique partners (they’re both in different places in the book which makes it fun. Sometimes I hit send BEFORE I’ve attached anything). And four is ‘Grimoire extra’ which contains everything I’ve cut but might want to make use of later.

Oh, and I’ve got a bulletin board full of 3 x 5 cards filled with floor plans, genealogy, and basic information about certain historical persons of the time, like the Prince of Whales and his mistresses for example.

So, what have you got?

What does your process look like?


  1. Hi! Great process and set up. Don't you just love being a writer?

    Well, I'm a pantser girl for the most part. With just ONE line to go by, I can whip up an entire MS.

    So as I go, I create a folder with several files. One for background information such as everything on the location from shoppes to parks and schools.

    Also, there is language dictionaries (if I have Greek in there or Viking info or even made-up stuff like elvish or goblin).

    I have a character profile that depicts vitals to mannerisms or even certain behavioral patterns. I sometimes draw a portrait for them.

    I have a folder for temporary edits and I later submerge them into the 'main' story. I have many different versions of the MS--each one getting better. Some of them have outlines, query letters and synopsis.

    Along the border of my lappie, I have stickies with my notes for my edits (cliches, cadence, fresh writing, etc).

    I set my MS aside for a handful of weeks and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Everything jumps out at me. (Sometimes I send it off to my alpha readers and they tell me where problem areas are).

    But I do comb through it. I give it about 5 passes per chapter before I move on. I search for balancing the basic elements of a MS (dialog, internalization, visceral behavior, setting and MC description, cadence, power words...)

    Then I print it up and send it off to my beta readers. Whew... Then I get it back and obsess about it more.

    While it's away, I work on the query and synopsis. Then I get those looked at. I hope I'm not leaving anything out. Probably...

    Yikes. You know, whoever thinks being an author is easy needs to try it out!

    Thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. PS--thank you for leaving a comment on my blog! :)

  3. Great post! I had to learn how to organize my files the hard way. I sent the wrong ms to an agent. Live and learn.

    I like having visuals all around me. Places, people, monsters, talismans...anything that draws me back to the place i've created.

  4. thank you both for sharing! I love hearing how others do it because sometimes it gives me ideas how to do it better! Like the bulletin board and the recipe box for my 3 x 5s. I got those ideas from other writers.

  5. I love seeing everyone's strategy, it's something love the most about being a writer!!! The world has so many options!

    I marinate the story idea in my mind then write like a mad woman!! Then I do a post-it style revision follwed by a white board post-it revision and then seperate chapters apart and work one at a time. It's a very slow process but I believe it's effective!

  6. I have multiple mini notebooks filled with notes, a white board filled with notes and arrows and post it notes everywhere. You sound more organised than me.


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