Updated: Nov 11, 2021
I love learning about other authors' writing and planning processes, but I can admit that my own processes are changing slightly with every book. Trying to figure out what works and allows me to get everything done is definitely a work in progress, heh. #authorjokes
Today I thought it would be fun to share a little about my writing and publishing process, and I'd love to hear about yours in the comments!
I'm not exactly a full plotter, but I'm not a pantser either. I can knock out words super fast if I know what I want to write, but I have to have a general outline.
My writing process starts with my Notes app on my iPhone. The majority of my ideas come to me when I'm not in front of the computer, so I add notes to folders there until I think I'm ready to start writing - that's how I came up with the Alpha Compound series in the first place!
I've tried a lot of tools for writing like Reedsy and Scrivener, but I'm currently using Milanote and GDocs, and that's working really well for me.
I tend to plot out a whole series at a high level, and then I plan two books ahead of time, so I know where the overarching story lines need to go. That helps me to pepper in some clues along the way.
For each book I write, I'm using the standard hero's journey, modified for romance. And I plot the high points using boards in Milanote.
I typically aim to have about 1/3 of the book in each of the sections you see in my pic below. I don't get super nitty gritty with this outline - just the high points about scenes I need to write.
Once I feel solid about my outline, I start writing, and then I amend my Milanote template as needed. This helps me to ensure I'm not forgetting any characters or important points, and also that I'm progressing the story forward appropriately.
Once I'm happy with my outline, I start writing in GDocs, and then I keep track of the timeline in my Milanote so I don't lose days or reference a date incorrectly. I do write pretty fast, but I also wake up at 5am and make sure I get in a solid two hours before the kiddo is up. Because of my day job, it's really the only time I have. Although if I'm out somewhere where I can write, I'll add scenes in my notes and move them to GDocs once I'm home!
After I've got a first draft done, I'll go back and re-read it, leaving myself comments of things that don't jive for me. When that's all sorted, I send it off for dev edits.
Sometimes I'll leave myself jokes or snarky comments. And then my editor goes back in and jokes back to my jokey comments. And it's turned into a whole thing that sparks joy for me.
So yay, for Marie Kondo-ing my fucking manuscript.
I keep a phone notes folder for my whole series, so I'm able to jot down high points as I go. Once I send a book off for dev edits, I truly do put it out of my mind and work on the next one (outlining and then writing). My goal is to usually get 30-40K of the next book done while my book is in dev editing.
Once it comes back from dev edits, I give myself two weeks to fix the book up and send it back for lines. During that time, I'm pretty focused on getting that book really solid. When I'm happy with it, I send it to my beta readers, and out for line editing at the same time. At this point, there's not usually much I'll plan to change.
As soon as the book goes for lines, I aim to write the second half of the next book. It doesn't always work out this way, but my goal is to be ready to send the subsequent book out for developmental edits once the prior book comes back from line edits. That way my editor's inbox is a revolving door of manuscripts from me, every few weeks.
Oof, that's a lotta words. Here's a sample timeline.
Book A goes for dev edits (2 weeks) - Write 40K of Book B while A is getting edited
Fix Book A (2 weeks)
Send Book A for line edits and beta reading (2 weeks) - Write 40K of Book B
Send Book B for dev edits
And so on and so forth. This is my current plan to get a book out every two-ish months in 2022. There's always a kink in the process somewhere and I may add in an extra week or two. Let's be real, working a day job/mothering/wife-ing are full time jobs too. But this is what I at least AIM for all the time.
That's my process! I'm so curious what you do to plan out your book and series?