Being a strategy consultant for my day job, much of my work is helping companies be more efficient or effective. When it came to writing, I simply wasn’t “walking the walk,” and so it was time to take a look at my writing process. It was then I realized I’d had no process! On my first book, I started on Chapter One, and wrote—and rewrote and rewrote—each chapter by painful chapter. It was chaotic and tedious.
After thinking things through, I made some serious changes. I spent about a month plotting out my second novel using storyboards (i.e. high-level scene-by-scene descriptions) and character bios. Even though characters never behave and like to take over and change scenes from my plans, I wrote the second novel in less than six months, with much fewer rewrites. Tweaking the process with each novel, I can get a novel to my editor in under four months: one month planning the story, one month rough drafting, and one-two months rewriting and polishing.
Putting some rigor into my writing process has allowed me to write over twice as fast, and I find writing more enjoyable (less “spinning my wheels”). I wrote Collision, a full-length novel coming out tomorrow(!), in four months. Being the first book in a trilogy, the first month of planning the series and characters was crucial and well worth every minute. Now, as I work on the next two books in the Colliding Worlds trilogy, I’m confident about the plot and excited to write!
For the writers out there, what’s your process? Has it evolved as your writing experience grows? Let’s swap best practices!
Collision (book 1 in the Colliding Worlds trilogy)
July 30, 2012
Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a scollision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.
The U.S. military has figured out they have uninvited company, and they’re not happy. Sienna knows it won’t be easy protecting earth from an alien invasion, but she refuses to back down. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.