My current work-in-progress, The Light Never Lies, (the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight) is moving along towards publication. In today’s post, I’ll overview how the process has unfolded so far.
I followed Stephen King’s sage advice and wrote the first draft in one season – January through March. I put the draft away for a month. When I took it out, the dust had barely settled. I got busy with a complete read through. I made note of the key areas that needed work. In the rush of creation, I had left a few blanks where relevant research had to be done. Scenes needed to be fleshed out with the detail that would come from that research. I discovered that all the characters were nodding, shrugging, smiling, and looking around way too much. Some serious work on the beats was necessary. In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Browne and King define beats as, “. . . the bits of action interspersed through a scene . . . the literary equivalent of what is known as stage business.” I turned to the Emotional Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi, to broaden the ways I expressed character emotion and to get a bit more creative with how I described character movement.
My next step was a significant 2nd draft rewrite. I then sent the manuscript off to my go-to beta-reader. Her feedback centered on sections of narrative that took the reader out of the story, dialogue that seemed awkward, and scenes where my writing process became too conspicuous. (Translation – information dumps, scenes that screamed of author indulgence, and sections that did not ring true.)
I was back to the drawing board for the 3rd draft. I addressed most of the above concerns and then sent my latest draft off to a couple of other beta readers. I know I’ll have to wait a bit for their feedback – they’re both busy women – but my experience tells me that what they will have to share will make the wait worthwhile.
Meanwhile, back at the lake, my editor and I have plunged right into line-by-line editing. We break the rules a bit on this one. Many sources say don’t get into this type of editing until you have a draft that you’re satisfied with. But for us, editing now becomes an integral, reiterative process. As the manuscript tightens up, line-by-line, I see the thorny issues that have been left hanging. There are still narrative sections that are too much tell and not enough show. I’ve also held onto scenes that are not necessary and therefore not worth wasting the time to improve.
I work along with, ahead of and behind my editor. When we reach the end of the first section, we’ll go right back to the beginning and re-edit that whole piece before moving on. Somewhere along the line of this process, the other beta-readers will weigh-in with their opinions and I’ll do more cutting and/or clarifying.
At the end of the editing, I’ll give the manuscript to my last beta-reader – my husband, Bruce. This will be the time for his technical expertise as well as his knack for spotting typos and missing words. He’s also going to be looking for specific instances when the sequel falls short of standing alone – missing information we’ve taken for granted because we know the first story so intimately.
Then I’ll read the entire manuscript out loud to him. Hopefully, at the end of that, we’ll be as close as we’re going to get to the finished product.
On the self-publishing front, many of you remember that for Disappearing in Plain Sight, I went with Friesen Press, an assisted-self-publishing company. For The Light Never Lies, I will be going it on my own. With this in mind, I’m working on several fronts.
I researched and then registered as a business – Huckleberry Haven Publishing. On his recent visit, my talented son created a logo for me. I applied to the Canadian government for my ISBN numbers and then assigned individual ISBN’s for both the upcoming trade paperback and the e-book of The Light Never Lies.
I’m practicing my word document template and formatting skills in preparation for when I will have to load my manuscript up to CreateSpace. The picture has been chosen for the cover. I’m looking into different programs that would allow us to create a quality cover-design on our own. My husband Bruce has waved his hand furiously in the air wanting the cover-design job. Go to it, I say. I find that type of work far too picky for my tastes.
I still have things to accomplish. I have to do some research on how I go about getting a barcode, decide if I’ll contract out the e-book formatting or tackle that myself, figure out if I have to pay for copyright registration and how I go about that, and no doubt there are a bunch of other issues I don’t even know about. So – that’s where I’m at on the current work-in-progress.
I’d love to hear where other people are at in the writing process. Drop me a comment and let’s get a conversation going. I hope you enjoy the pictures of the pink, oriental lilies that are blooming in our garden right now.
Self publishing yourself is amazing. I am totally discouraged by the current costs of getting my second book published. Go for it: you are fortunate that you have such awesome support from your talented family. You also are an excellent blogger.
My first experience with assisted-self-publishing cost far too much and I lost too much control. I can’t reset the price on Amazon and my unit cost for purchasing books to sell in our local market is too high. The break-even point is way down the road. We are really trying to do most everything ourselves this time. And if the process isn’t over-the-top, I’m seriously considering re-issuing my first book under Huckleberry Haven Publishing. We’ll see. Thanks for getting into this discussion.
I think you are doing the right thing by starting your own self-publishing business. The cost of using a current self-publisher is quite expensive. With your support from your talented and supportive family, you will do very well.
I’ve been considering self-publishing recently and checked out CreateSpace yesterday and created a draft cover. Do you have any resources for formatting issues with CreateSpace? Thanks 🙂
We haven’t started on the cover yet, not sure if we’ll use CreateSpace resources for that. I’m going to give you a link for a blog post where the blogger, Joanne Phillips, describes exactly how she set up a formatting template in Microsoft word to drop into CreateSpace. I found it really helpful. http://wp.me/p269vZ-QL Thanks for stopping by and starting up a conversation.
It all sounds very full on and I really enjoyed reading about the process. Some pretty thought provoking stuff too! I like the idea of the beats and showing, not telling. Very interesting! Thanks.
You’re right about a lot going on. I hadn’t realized that after the first novel was published, I would have promotional efforts right alongside writing, rewriting, editing and getting ready for the next publishing round. Whew. It does stay interesting, though. Thanks for stopping by, Julian.
How exciting, Francis! Wishing you all the best with your new venture. I admire your motivation as well as your patience. I just want to write; I’d never have the patience for all of the research involved. Kudos to you!
The internet, various blogs, and groups make finding the information a bit easier. People are quite generous when I go out and ask questions. Most of the people who have made a go of it with self-publishing have been in the same spot, so they are happy to share. Thanks for the thumbs up 🙂
Love the flower pics – so pretty! And how exciting to be moving along with your sequel and going it alone this time! Thanks for sharing your process, and tons of luck to you!
p.s. I love the logo design! Simple yet effective, looks very professional. 🙂
Thanks for the compliments on the logo – I love it, too. My son was able to work from a very crude little drawing I had done on the back of a scrap of paper. What kids won’t do when a mom begs, right?
I enjoyed getting this update and loved learning about your writing process, since you’re a writer I admire. What I appreciate most is your objectivity toward your manuscript. How you can look at it critically and see what needs to be fixed. The Emotion Thesaurus is one of my favorite resources. My writing has stalled lately. Summer is no good for a lot of writers, as I’ve learned here in the blogosphere. It seems I’m not the only one who’s struggled with productivity. School starts today though, adding structure back into our days and a routine that’s much more conducive to the writing life. I’m looking forward to dusting off the outline I’ve started for my novel rewrite.
I think most exciting news in this post is your venture into true self-publishing. You’re an entrepreneur now in the most real sense. Congrats, Fran and thanks for the newsy update. Can’t wait to get my hands on that sequel. Do you have an anticipated release date?
After years of sending kids off to school and then subsequent years of attending school myself, I always have a sense of something about to get started when Sept. rolls around. I find myself looking through school supply flyers with longing.
The venture into true self-publishing is a scary one, but we are determined to give it a try. With more than a few book ideas still on the drawing board, my plan is to learn the ropes this time and have a skill set I can make use of over the coming years.
I am hoping to have The Light Never Lies out to the public in May of 2014. Maybe I’ll have some advanced reading copies or mobi files earlier. This time around, I want to look for a few readers who will advance read and have reviews ready for the official release. I have heard that’s a good idea.
As always, Gwen, thanks so much for the support.
I found this information most helpful as I am almost at the end of editing my first novel, so publication is looming.
I have a graphic designer friend who I am hoping will sort out the cover, but I was thinking along the lines of approaching local printers to see how much they would charge to print and bind.
If you think this is not the right way forward, which other organisation would you recommend to both publish and produce the finished article?
Lastly, which should have come first, I did so love reading Disappearing in Plain Site, and will certainly read this latest one.
Congratulations on having come this far. The very best of luck with the rest of the journey, and ‘Thanks So Much’, for sharing this most valuable experience.
I recently read another post by Joanne Phillips on the publication of her newest novel – she is using 3 separate places for printing – CreateSpace for Amazon.com; Lightening Source for Amazon.uk and other places, and a local printer who is giving her a good price on a block of printing for her local market. At first, I thought – OMG – complicated. But the more I think about it, the more I think – why not? Once the formatting work is done, it would just be a matter of loading things up with the other venues. The main thing for me right now is trying to have my unit cost for books I sell in my local market come down a bit.
Definitely, Disappearing in Plain Sight comes first. The Light Never Lies picks up the threads of everyone’s life almost one year down the road. If the theme of Disappearing in Plain Sight was getting on with your life, the theme of The Light Never Lies is how that getting on can get messy.
Thanks so much for your support, Janet.
So great that you have the support of your family!
Ya, I’ll say – if not, I’d be in the poor house, again. We’re really trying to balance getting a quality product with spending as little as possible. The one good thing I did get from Friesen Press was a good quality trade paperback that shows well when we go into stores etc. So, I definitely want that again. Right now, we’ll see how DY works and if it isn’t up to the standards we’ve set – then we’ll be shopping around.
Sounds like a plan. Yes, family support is priceless.
Thanks for sharing the new process with your second novel. The act of writing itself is hard work. But the energy needed to rewrite and rewrite and the process of putting the art out there is fraught with seemingly endless decisions and strategies. I wish you the best and am looking forward to purchasing the sequel next spring!
Thanks so much for the support. I keep telling myself – books sales are built one reader at a time. This self-publishing business is very much about slowly but surely. I’m just plugging away in my own field of dreams – if you write it they will come!
I’m fascinated by your attention to detail Francis. To date I’ve used an editor but, in truth, he never changed much from the first draft. True, he cleared up the spelling, punctuation etc. I’m aware that – this next time around – I’ll need to pay much more attention to editing, re-writing etc. And probably, fourth time around, I’ve learnt a bit more about the requirements for a good book. But I doubt I’d ever have your dedication to your art.
It certainly is a learning process. I am amazed at what I know this time around and then humbled in turn by how much more there is to learn. Thanks, as always, for the support, Roy.
Interesting post again, Francis. When I see how much time and effort is going into my little project to self publish from a till z my new poetry book, self publishing a full novel is a very challenging adventure I think. Typos are indeed very important to avoid, because you notice them right away when reading a book. The show and not tell rule is a golden rule indeed. I’m positive that with all the support you get from your family , you will succeed!
Thanks so much, Francina, for the well-wishes and your confidence in my ability to make all of this work. When it gets a bit overwhelming, I just remind myself – one step at a time. Support from family (and so many blog friends) sure does help.
I’m taking notes, Francis! In which book does Stephen King talk about writing in one season? I like that.
Hi Darla – I’ve only read the one book on writing craft by Stephen King and that is – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. So it has to have been in there. In the old research/academic writing days, I would have a page number for you, but, alas, those days are past. Thanks for taking notes, though.
You’re a force to be reckoned with, Francis! It’s wonderful of you to share your process. It seems so daunting and yet, here you are, having done it and doing it again…only this time, you’re taking even more onto your already brimming plate. Wow! I really appreciate the information you’ve shared and I’m going to reblog this for the benefit of my readers.
I’m happy for you. :0)
Thanks so much, Hazy and I really appreciate the reblog. Networking with others is what makes the whole social media thing worthwhile.
That’s so true, Francis. A lot of it is about support. I’m always happy to share good information!
Reblogged this on hazyshadesofme and commented:
And this folks, is how you get things done!