My Process for Writing


My journey so far:

Short Stories < 7,500 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,499 words
Novella 17,500 to 39,999 words
Novel > 40,000 average 80,000 words

Producing a novel is not a quick and easy process. You have an idea for a story. Okay, which genre? Crime fiction with sub-genre Hard-Boiled Detective, and Female Sleuth.

You get told by Literary Agents that it needs to be different, so you read a lot of novels in the genre you want to write within. At the same time, you get told by tutors on writing courses that it needs to be the same as other published books. Quite confusing as you read the genre and they all seem very similar. Publishers have the mindset that, “If it works and sells, do it again.”

You look at outlines for novels and find they are three act structures, a beginning, a middle and an end. These three act structures are broken down into eight categories which can be found in many stories:

Trigger Event – (For a P.I. this would be the client interview)
Inciting Incident – (Not needed in a series of a P.I. as it’s her job)
First Pinch – (Pinch is things not going according to plan for the P.I.)
First Turning Point – (This look to be going excellently for the P.I.)
Second Triggering Event – (Second problem occurs)
Second Turning Point – (Things get even worse for the P.I.)
Second Pinch – (It’s looking like the end of the P.I.)
Climax & Resolution – (P.I. is down but not out & rebounds to victory)

Okay, the original idea for a story was not a full three act outline. I need a three act outline, so I need to invent a backstory, some sub-stories, as other things are happening to our protagonist and events that are in the above list. Within the story, things should happen that is likely to occur in reality and timeframe, so the year, month, day and time should be identified and adhered to, within the story.

Creating an outline & writing the first draft can take a year or years.

After you finish the first draft, you have to edit it.

After you’ve edited your manuscript, you need to send it to a few critique partners, who then read your manuscript and send you feedback, again this can take weeks to months.

Then you look at their feedback and edit again, once you’ve done that you could send it out to beta readers for their reviews, this can take months.

You take their feedback and edit your manuscript again. So now you have a semi-polished manuscript when there are two alternative courses:

1: Traditional Publishers; you send it to your agent who then edit it professionally, which takes months and send you feedback, so you change things and then it might be submitted to a publisher who then reviews it and sends you a long list of editing that is required on your manuscript. While all this was going on, you need an audience as publishers keep their money for publicising for well-known authors. So you get on social media finding people who like the genre you write and getting them to look at your website so people might buy the book, 70 to 80% of the cost goes to the publishers and you merely get 20 to 30% of the profits.

2: Self-publishing; you send it to a professional editor, and they have it for a month or two and send you feedback with edits. Then you need a book cover, you find a cover designer and send them the synopsis of your book, and they design the cover to compliment the subject. You decide you want ebooks and paperback books which both need different ISBNs, so you need to buy those. While all this was going on, you need an audience, so you get on social media finding people who like the genre you write and getting them to look at your website so people might buy the book. The ebooks you can format yourself and maybe Amazon will sell them for a fee. The paperbacks you want, so you have them manufactured at maybe 25 to 50 at a time, depending on the supply requirements and costs. Then you take all the profits.

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