There is no right or wrong way to write a story. Some write it chapter by chapter, editing each chapter well before moving on to another chapter, some do a huge amount of researching before starting to write, and some just go with the flow…and these were just a few examples! I have created a kind of a mixed style, but that does not mean I necessarily stick to my style. I may start with one style but change the style along the way…Whatever suits the story best.
I’m currently writing the final part of McLean Twins series. Final parts for me are a nightmare! So much to remember, so many loose ends to tie, and of course the creation of an epic nerve wrecking ending that leaves the reader purr in satisfaction…not an easy task. So here’s a peek of my way of building a story…how I’m creating my upcoming story:
I started with drafting the chapters. Basically just writing: Chapter 1, homecoming, seeing Connor, meeting Isabel…horror house Chapter 2, escape, calling Elowen, Chapter 3, in the woods…etc. I added as much supporting words as I could, sentences I could use, a short paragraphs…anything I could think of, until I had the whole story idea written down and split in to the chapters.
BUILDING UP A CHAPTER
Concentrating on one chapter at the time. I went back to chapter 1 and started from the support words and ideas that are already under the Chapter 1 title. I let the story grow from a few words to a proper chapter, trying to add cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, or at least on as many chapters as they are fit. However, there were lot of material written inside of each chapter that I didn’t use. Did I delete them? Nope. I just cut and pasted the text at the beginning of the next chapter. Just in case I would have needed it there.
This part is where I’m right at this moment! So what will happen next?
After this I basically have the whole story ready. Is it good? Hell no! This is when the hard work starts…
TRACING UP THE HIGHLIGHTS IN A CHAPTER
Time to start from the beginning and analyze each chapter carefully. What’s good and what should be deleted immediately and wish no one will ever find out what crappy part was originally written in the chapter. Where could the story grow…building up the tension, making the readers bite their nails off…
So now I have a manuscript with lots of high lightened parts…It’s time to do some research…and then some more. This is actually the part that takes the longest amount of time. McLean Twins series is about magic, spells, demons…so in order to create a believable world I need to read a lot of information about the top topics. The history of witches and witchcraft, how to create a spell, demons and their origins…how to exorcise a demon…the meaning of the runes, holy amulets…whatever comes in to my mind and could help me with my story.
EXPANDING THE CHAPTERS
Okay, after weeks (sometimes months) of hard researching my wall is filled with post-it notes, my work desk overload with sheets of paper full of important background information for my story, my computer is screaming Hallelujah as it’s packed with files after files, marked pages, pictures, motivational music…Deep sigh…it’s time to organize.
Starting from the beginning again…reading each chapter line by line, adding the results of my research here and there, clinging to the minor details, sharpening the story so that each chapter makes sense and the words are flowing effortlessly, making the story easy to read.
THE FIRST READ-THROUGH
Ouch! I have the expanded chapters and the improved story in front of me…time to read it through…and add notes here and there, maybe continue the chapter if needed or shape sentences…
LET THE STORY BREW
This is hard! My mind wants to keep on writing and editing but in order to get better my story needs to be put aside for a while…couple of weeks will do the trick for me and by then I’m so ready to lunge on my MS that a week more would have driven me insane!
THE SECOND READ-THROUGH
Time to read what’s really hiding in my MS and do the last corrections.
SEND THE BABY OUT TO THE COLD WORLD
So now I’m as ready as I can be to call my alpha readers and ask them to read my manuscript through…after they’ve read and pointed out all the mistakes that needs to be corrected, I read the MS again, do the corrections and send it to my beta readers. Beta readers will basically do the same as my alpha readers, except they’re much more pedantic. They hunt down all the little things, the plot holes, misplaced characters, what should have been added but I forgot…every teeny tiny detail that needs to be taken cared of before the story goes to the proofreaders and editors.
THE THIRD, FOURTH…ZILLIONTH READ-THROUGH
When my beta readers are done, it’s my turn to do the last re-writing, editing, adding session…read it through so many times my eyes hurt and I just want to throw the papers on the floor and jump on them…or maybe burn the whole crap…this is the moment when a nasty doubt crawls in me… In spite of the encouraging words from my alphas and betas, in spite of what my gut tells me…there is this little nagging voice that keeps whispering ‘it’s not good enough, maybe one more editing round before it’s ready, what if my readers will hate it, should I just delete it and start all over’… Yep, this is the moment when I’m grabbing on to my work with everything I got, fighting with my tooth and nail…the final moment, before the story is completely out of my hands.
When the manuscript has been sent to the first proofreading I cannot add anything in it without begging on my knees and crying my heart out. Yep, that’s the way it goes…and then one day when the army of proofreaders and editors are done, the book is ready to be published, and to be sent to the bookstores all around the world!
While waiting for the final part of McLean Twins series, you might wanna start reading the first two in the series! Just click on the image and it will take you to the store!
Very similar to how I do it! Can really relate to ‘ is it any good? hell no!’ But it never is in the first draft…Also the self-doubt and fear when it is all done…letting it go! thanks for sharing
Glad you liked it!
Proofreading is something I am trying to teach my teen granddaughter to do with her schoolwork. As a retired teacher I would not accept a paper full of so many errors. But as good a proofreader as I think I am, I am not so arrogant not to let another proofread my efforts. There is often a disconnect between the mind and the pen. Our mind often “sees” what’s supposed to be there , not necessarily what got written. You may enjoy Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss. Thanks visit my blog.