My 10 Step Novel Writing Process

In my opinion the most important thing for an author is to have a consistent project process. This process is likely to be different between each author. This month I thought I might share my process.

Step 1: Idea Formation

Before you can start writing a story of any kind, you need to at least have an idea for what you’re writing. Formulating the ideas after first having them and working out if the ideas are viable enough to turn into a story. I often find that my ideas come from dreams. I then spend time the next day going over the ideas and stretching them until they become something more. Once I have worked out if they might work as story ideas then I move onto the next step.

Step 2: Research

After formulating my ideas into a novel/series idea I begin researching the topic and start building the scene for it. If the project is set in a specific time period, this means I need to research the time period, the way people dressed, the way they talked and the various social statuses involved with the time period. Through this research characters can be made and worlds created.

Step 3: Storyboarding

After Researching, it is important to start storyboarding your ideas. Formulating a basic storyline for the novel at the very least. I am not much of a planner so I usually only start with a story premise and a few milestones. Everything else I leave up to in the moment creativity.

Step 4: 1st Draft – The Skeleton

This is the very first basic draft of the story. I do my best to make sure the general story gets down onto the paper. It doesn’t need to have fantastic character and story development as it is only me shovelling sand into the sandpit. I aim to have this draft at approximately 80,000 words which is more than what I expect my novels final word count to be. The word count is likely to fluctuate as the writing process continues.

Step 5: 2nd Draft – Major Storyline Rework

I usually leave the project for a few months before returning for this step. For the 2nddraft I completely rewrite the story, this time with the original draft on the same screen. Using the original draft I rework the entire novel and restructure the storyline to a point where the major plot points are better developed.

Step 6: 3rd Draft – Minor Storyline Rework

Again I leave a bit of time between these two steps. Maybe a month though as we are only focusing on the minor points of the story and making sure the characters are well developed. This process usually takes 3 times reading through the entire novel to ensure everything is as it should be for the story to either tie up the loose ends and be over or to be tied up enough to be over but also loose enough to continue into the sequel. After this step is finally complete, congratulations you have a finished manuscript… But wait… you still have to edit it.

Step 7: 4th Draft – My Edit

Leaving the manuscript for a while is the best way to ensure you come at it with a somewhat fresh perspective. A fresh perspective is fairly important as otherwise it is difficult to spot grammatical mistakes. I am awful at spotting mistakes in my own work. But going over it yourself first is a good idea, that way you have at least tried to find the more obvious mistakes. Besides there are other people who are more than capable of editing your manuscript for you.

Step 8: 5th Draft – Editor’s Edit

So, you’ve now written your manuscript and have gone over it with editing in mind. Now it’s time to hand it over to a professional editor. I was lucky enough that I had already found Ouroborus Books by this point with The Stray so I was able to get Sabrina to edit my book as part of my publishing costs. But if you haven’t found your publisher yet this can be a bit more difficult. Have a look around your local area and even online for editors of your genre. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars for an 80,000 word manuscript. But it is worth the money if you plan to self-publish. It might not get rid of all the errors, but it will definitely get an objective point of view and the editor will do their best to make sure your story is the best it can be.

Step 9: Final Draft

Usually after you get your manuscript back from the editor, it will be a marked up version. This means they have gone through and made all kinds of notes, whether using the Microsoft Office Suite or pen to paper. It is now your job to go through the mark up and make the changes. Most them will just be an instant yes to change. Others however may ask you to rephrase things or explain something better, more information. Either way, if you have any questions, follow up with your editor and they should be more than happy to explain their intentions. For this I recommend having an editor that uses track changes in Microsoft word, otherwise the pen and paper mark up is such a gruelling process and not one to look forward to.

Step 10: Prepare for Publication

After the entire editing process is done it’s time to prepare you manuscript for publishing. If you have a publisher, they will complete this process for you. However, if you are self-publishing this can include, cover design, manuscript formatting for different platforms, design choices, promotional items and events. Social media advertising. Pretty much everything you can think of that will help you sell your book. You want to be in everybody’s faces, but not to the point where your notifications get turned off.

Review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni

Lynette Noni is an Australian author that has written a fantasy series titled The Medoran Chronicles it is a five part series that follows the journey of a young girl that falls into another earth like world called Medora. The following blurb is on the back of the book.

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes – literally.
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities.
Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.
While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world – and maybe even her life – to save Medora?

I purchased this book from Supanova on the Gold coast earlier this year, I had heard a lot about the book and have met the author on a few occasions and writing conferences here in Brisbane so I was keen to give it a chance.

In the beginning of the novel, it is a little slow to move as it brings you into the world of Medora and starts explain what is different in this world compared to our Earth which is where Alex is from. As the story progresses I found excellent character development between the three heroes you will come to know if you choose to embark on your Medoran journey. If you are an avid fantasy reader and enjoy the books we have to offer at Ouroborus Books you are sure to enjoy this series as it progresses.

The bonus side to starting this series… there are 5 books with the 5thcoming out in February 2019 so it is a ready to read series and you don’t need to wait long for the concluding novel. I finished the 1stbook early last week and have almost finished the 2ndwhich is still very good, I am interested how this one ends as I near its closing chapters, thankfully as of last Saturday I have the 3rdand 4thbooks on my shelf and ready to read.

The only negative I have to say for this book is that I have managed to guess some plot points before they presented themselves and I usually prefer novels that surprise me with their hooks. That said, there are also many plot points that I didn’t see coming or details that I didn’t expect along the way to a part that I suspected.

Overall and without giving away any spoilers I would rate this book a strong 4 out of 5, with the mark down being because of the instances of being a bit predictable. Maybe this is because I write as well and I’ve spent so long analysing the hows and whys of an author’s work to help improve my own abilities.

Useful Links:

Dymocks (Image used in this post)

Lynette Noni’s Website