F.A.Q. How do you write?

My writing process changes over time. The only consistent element is that I write 6 days a week. Here's a basic idea of how I write.

I start with an idea. I flush it out and outline the main components, like the hero and heroine's inner conflicts, the external conflict, twists in the plot and the general sequence of events. I usually get a strong sense of the beginning and the ending.

I write the first draft. That takes 6-8 weeks working at least an hour a day, more often 2-3 hours. While I write, I re-read in blocks and ship chapters off to my critique partner. She sends those back and I review her comments in case the book has gone off the rails completely. I make some changes, leaving most of the comments as items to review later.

I don't write with the TV on, the radio playing, or with an internet browser opened. It's just me and my characters. When I need to multitask or when I know I'll have distractions, that's when answer emails and work on promotional stuff.

I start writing the query letter, usually just key phrases I think might work and jot down a skeleton synopsis.

Occasionally (more often then I'd like), I realize a major problem and do a massive rewrite. But those situations I try to avoid. *smile*

I periodically email myself copies of the manuscript for back up purposes.

When I've finished the draft and have had all the chapters critiqued, I read through the entire manuscript with the remaining comments. Sometimes, they are suggestions I wasn't sure I liked or changes I wasn't sure worked. I make revisions taking into account revelations I've had while writing.

I revise. I make more comments and changes. Layer in details. Repeat this step some number of times.

I re-read the entire book and smooth out problems. I resolve all comments and suggestions. At this point, the book is almost finished.

Then I re-read the entire revised manuscript. If I can read it without needing too many changes (typos: fine, major flaws: not fine), then I feel like it's ready to be sent out.

I revise the query and synopsis. I read it every day for a week, tuning and changing, editing and tweaking. When I can read it for 3-5 days without thinking parts need to work, I consider it ready to mail off to Harlequin.

What's your writing process? Have a time saving process?


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