Writing Process, Revisited

Back in November, I discussed my writing process. That was right after Black Wolf opened for pre-orders on Amazon.

Well, here we are. Right after Born Wolf has opened for pre-orders on Amazon, and I’m ready to revisit the process.


The process for writing Born Wolf was much smoother than the haphazard methods I used for Black Wolf. This is encouraging since I’m so new to this indie author thing. I’m always a big fan of improvement and streamlining, and it doesn’t get much clearer than this: it took me 11 months to generate Black Wolf. It took me 5.5 months to generate Born Wolf. That’s an obvious improvement!

Here’s how my process looked this time:

  1. I spent the month of November outlining everything. I worked with the resources you can find in my Hatching A Plot post, along with some personal tweaks. I have to say this was the biggest factor in the reduction of my timeframe. By the time I started writing the first draft at the beginning of December, I already knew the whole story. It was right there and all I had to do for each scene was write from my notes. Sure, there were deviations as creativity sparked during the writing process. But Point A to Point B? That journey was already mapped out.
  2. I wrote the first draft in December and January. Because I aim for 120,000 words per novel (for the Black Wolf Series, at least) that meant a general breakdown of 2,000 words per day. It wasn’t quite so cut and dry, though. With the Christmas holidays (and my Type-A tendencies) I tended closer to 3,500 per day. This was nice, because I finished ahead of schedule. And, thanks to my outline, I didn’t find it too hard to get that many words down each day.
  3. I spent February editing and revising. I’m still not a huge fan of this part of the process. I absolutely can (and have) spent 45 minutes debating a comma or joke. I’m not good at making decisions. Why did anyone trust me to write a novel?
  4. I handed a relatively rough copy off for the first round of beta reading at the beginning of March. A note on that: typically, you’d want your beta readers to get a lovely, polished product. My first beta draft was as rough as I would allow to go out but as polished as I could manage for that level of roughness (confused yet?). I was looking for more of a general critique from my first round–like, “Hey, do you see a glaring plot hole or terrible inconsistency?”
    I got great feedback from that, too. For example, while Lathan has come a little more into his own since Black Wolf, I’d made him almost intolerably alpha. He yelled and stormed around far too much–to the point that there wasn’t a lot of the original loveably awkward uncertain alpha nature left in him. My readers were quick to point out that it was a bummer that he didn’t seem like the same guy.
    Thankfully, it was a pretty fixable situation, and the second round beta feedback liked him just fine.
  5. I got the manuscript back around the middle of March and made my edits and revisions before turning it right back around for the second round of beta reading.
  6. I got the manuscript back again at the end of March and spent a whirlwind weekend prepping it to go into the third round of beta reading. I had some odd time/directional discrepancies that were picked up in this round. Again, those were relatively easy fixes (thankfully!!).
    At this point, I was also working on my cover, which I finalized around the beginning of April.
  7. I got the book back again around the middle of April and made the last revisions and edits before it went off for final editing. I also ordered my first round of paperback proofs and got things set up for those online pre-orders.
  8. I got the edited version back last weekend and spent the rest of the week editing and revising for the last time (kinda).
  9. Now I’m working with Vellum to polish the ebook file. I just finished the revamp of Black Wolf on Vellum. The newest edition is what’s currently for sale on Amazon.
    (PS, BTW: it’s on sale for 99 cents this month as a celebratory “here comes Book Two” thing!) As I’ve been working on the manuscripts in Vellum, I’ve spotted a few additional things I’ve corrected along the way. I have to repeat how great it is to review your own work in different fonts and formats. You pick up so much more when you do it this way!
  10. The final version of Born Wolf should be uploaded to the Amazon services I use by the end of this weekend. That means I won’t have to do anything more with them between the final upload and the release date. That’s a fan-freaking-tastic feeling!

I have a stretch goal of uploading both books to the other major retailer platforms between now and the Born Wolf release day, but I’m not sweating it. Neither book has been available on those platforms yet, and I’ll have plenty of time to handle that whenever I want.

As for the future, I’ve got plans there, too.

I’m still planning to get Book Three out this year. I’ll have a couple of lighter weeks when we get back from our vacation. I’m planning to do preliminary outlining (that will actually start on our trip, I’m sure, because I can no longer go anywhere without my book notebook) and I need to reorganize my computer files. Do you have any idea how messy folders on your computer, Dropbox, and Drive can get when you don’t do any management of book files for six months? Um…I do. Oy vey!

I’ll be fully ramping back up on Book Three around the second week of June. Hooray for the roller coaster that is indie author life!

And then, there’s next year. I’d really like to put out three books in 2018. I think that’s probably the most I can manage in a year, at least under the current circumstances. But I’ve been reading recently about the concept of stacking books, and I want to try it. I’ll chat more about that in the future, at some point!

So…that’s my writing process after two published novels.

What about you? If you’re a writer, how has your process evolved?


5 thoughts on “Writing Process, Revisited

  1. 5.5 months is seriously amazing! Congratulations!
    My process is a lot like yiirs: planning, outlining, drafting, figuring out everything that went wrong in spite of my planning, heavy revision, critique, more revisions, line and copy edits, fixes, beta readers, fixes, proofing, publication. I’ve pushed myself and got through that in four months for a very short novel, but I prefer more time. I’m stockpiling my next series a bit, but by the time book four comes out we’ll be looking at six months between releases (then process for each book is longer, but they overlap). It’s what I need to do my best work, so I’m not going to stress about that. Whatever works, right?

    1. Thanks!
      And thanks for sharing about your process!
      That whole “figuring out everything that went wrong in spite of my planning” part gets me every time 😀
      I’ve found I like giving myself enough time to enjoy the journey while pushing myself just enough to stay ultra-motivated.

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