Monday, October 4, 2010

Baby Steps

I’m sitting down tonight plotting my next novel. There’s something exciting about starting a new project. Yet at the same time, writing a book seems like an overwhelming task at first, too! Not only do I know I have to write a compelling story, realistic characters, and something that hasn’t been done before, but I also have to convince an editor to buy it. And then once it’s bought, convince my readers to read it!

Okay, so thinking about all of that totally stresses me out. So for me I have to take baby steps.

Phase I- Plotting and Character Sketches

1. Brainstorm like crazy

2. Submit my ideas to my critique group and gain their input (I heart my critique buddies!)

3. Brainstorm again

4. Begin plotting and create character sketches

5. Share my plot with my critique buddies and adjust as needed

Phase II- Fast Draft

1. Plug in my iPod and fast draft- write as fast as I can so I can stay in the groove of my story

2. Stay within my weekly word count goal

3. Eat lots of dark chocolate and drink gallons of coffee

4. Write, write, WRITE!!!!!

5. CELEBRATE when I finish the first draft!

Phase III- Find the Problems

1. Work on plot holes

2. Analyze character motivations and inner conflicts

3. Slice and dice- cut anything not needed

Phrase IV- Share

1. Submit to my critique buddies

2. Make changes according to feedback (note: this phase is often the hardest)

Phase V- Make it Beautiful

1. Polishing- fix grammar, spelling and more surface issues

2. Formatting the manuscript

Phase VI- Out into the World

1. Write my query, cover letters, and the synopsis

2. Get more feedback from critique group

3. Create a list of potential agents or editors

4. Send out and eat more chocolate

Okay so now I’m stressed out again thinking of this HUGE process and I didn’t even go into all of the details. So I’ll just focus on Phase I right now and worry about Phase VI when I get there.

How about you? What keeps you from getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the work it takes to write a book?



  1. I wrote myself a note once, listing the scenes that I wanted to work on. At the bottom, I scribbled. "PS. You don't have to write the whole damn book today!"

    I eventually pasted that little quote to my computer and it reminds me each day to only worry about what's on the agenda. If you think Big Picture you can drive yourself nuts.

  2. LOL, very good Car! I try hard not to have too much "I should be outlining better" guilt.


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