I’m honored to be the first to welcome TKZers to 2022! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, filled with family, food and fun, and ending with a resolution to begin a new writing adventure in the new year. Consider this quote by Winston Churchill:
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
While I can’t relate to every one of the phases Mr. Churchill describes, I love the metaphors, and he made me wonder how I would describe.my own adventures in my limited experience of novel-writing. Here goes:
When I begin a new book, I spend some time searching for ideas. Is there some message I want to convey? Or a character who’s anxious to make his/her debut? Is there a particular mystery I want to challenge readers with or a basic theme I’m interested in? I spend time reading good novels and craft-of-writing books. I go for a run and play what-if games. I try not to force the issue, but let my brain relax, hoping for inspiration.
Then it happens. Something bubbles up and captures my imagination. Oh, happy day! Now it’s time to get to work.
I pull on my virtual hiking boots, strap my laptop in place, and head out to First Draft Land. Although I have a good idea where I’m going, I’m not entirely sure how to get there, so I wander around for a while. (A long while.)
Even though I made it to the end of the story, it’s just a mess, so I go into revision mode. Applying lessons learned about plot, structure, dialogue, tension, and other TKZ topics, I straighten out some of those detours and rabbit holes. I weed the prose, kill my darlin’s, and heartily eradicate the dreaded adverbs. (Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.) Now we’re getting somewhere:
Having reached what I believe is the end of my writing adventure, I gleefully ship the manuscript off to my developmental editor, convinced she will be delighted with the almost-perfect story. My editor has a very direct approach to feedback as you can see by her response to the manuscript.
Maybe she was just having a bad day, but I trust her judgment, and I take her critique to heart and work some more. The adventure resumes, and we loop through each leg of the journey to clear away the debris so the reader won’t stumble.
Finally, the editor gives it a green light, and I begin the last mile to the finish line. Beta readers come alongside to offer their wisdom, then it’s off to the line editor and proofreader for the final changes. (Who knew it took so many people to write a novel?)
What started as a joyful romp through the garden ends with a quiet sigh of relief and gratitude. There’s only one thing left to do: launch it out into the world.
Success! Adventure complete. Dragons slayed and townspeople rescued. After a short nap, it’s time to start another adventure.
Now where did I put that book on marketing?
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How about you, TKZers. What writing adventure are you planning for 2022? What phases will you go through? How will you manage the long trek to publication?