Birthing a Book

MM_SSI3_WeathertheStorm_draftNo, it’s not here yet. 🙂 I’m working on it very, very hard. Really.

I know my SSI fans have been waiting patiently for this next book. I appreciate it. Thank you.

At this point in my career I am working  on two main series (SSI and Prime Chronicles). I have tried to alternate writing the series books to keep all my fans happy.  And that is a hard thing to do since I don’t write short novels.  And I don’t type fast.  And I am  A-type. Those who know me well are nodding their heads. Oh, and I have a very busy life — yes, I know the word is “no” and I need to learn to use it more.

Excuses, excuses. Yep, I’m the Queen of Rationalizing. But they’re all true and mostly why it takes so long for me to get a book completed to my satisfaction.

Note, I said mostly. That brings us to the real crux of the matter — my writing process is not straight-forward. From the conception of the idea for a book to the finished, polished draft for submission is a long and, most of the times, arduous process.

I’ve only had one book that has just flown onto the computer from my head and sailed through all my after-processes to publication and that was Cold Day in Hell, a thoroughly enjoyable writing and editing experience and at 120K, one of my longest books.

But not all books evolve that easily. In the early stages, I feel a euphoria and put words down fast and furiously — this is the set up for the book.  Then as I segue into the middle of the book where all the real action is, I slow down as I work patiently with the characters, herding them toward the crisis/climax I foresaw when I began the darn book.

Of course, s**t happen.  My characters get pushy and take over. They take side paths that weren’t in my original plans and then I have to either write around the roadblocks that creates or backtrack and rewrite and go another direction.  Sometimes I need to even re-think the whole set up of the story (which is what happened in Weather the Storm), because it sucks and instead of taking me to a logical ending, it takes me into a wall where I crash and burn. My family will tell you that at this point, I am not a happy camper and life as they know it stops until I fix the damn book.  They eat out a lot.  My house doesn’t get cleaned. My cat feels neglected.

I do not like it when my stories crash and burn. Not. At. All.

Eventually I type “The End.”  Big sigh of relief, but …. and isn’t there always a “but?”

Here is where the real work begins (and where I am at with Vanko’s book, if you’re keeping track).

I have a completed first draft — but it is rough and has holes a Mack truck could drive through.  It has sticky notes that say “add emotion here” or “add sex scene here”  or “find out what road goes from here to there.”

Thus begins elevating the finished book (which parts of have now been rewritten 3-4 times even as I wrote the whole) to another level.  I rewrite, revise, delete and add scenes, rename characters (sometimes they don’t like their names and tell me so), polish, and add layers of emotion where I missed them the first time.

Once the more polished draft is done (officially draft 2), it then goes to my crit buddy and betas who with kindness and love rip me a new a-hole, and I go back and revise once more.  And then, and only then, do I send it to my publisher who in turn sends it to my editor who will also go through and make little notes in the margins such as “Really?” or “Not feeling this.” or “you used the word mortify fifty times, fix it.”

Yeah, I can write a complete first draft of a 90K novel in less than six months, but it is more a 9-month process — sort of like giving birth. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Birthing a Book

  1. Moni-as I have told you before, your process is arduous and I know I couldn’t do it. But we the readers, benefit and in the end we get to read the finished product which is always worth the wait. Thank you for the work you do!

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  2. Very good metaphor usage, Moni. Gosh, it is like giving birth, and when you see your “child” go out into the world the first time, it’s terrifying. We “moms” all feel your pain! 🙂

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  3. We love the results, so however you have to get there is all good to us. Although I TOTALLY understand that your cat / family may not like parts of it LOL

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      • She is such a cat. When they want attention, they definitely know how to do it. My cat use to lay right in the middle of the newspaper. Lol!

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