Congratulations….It’s a Book!
Writing a book really is like having baby. And raising that baby to adulthood.
There’s so much more involved in writing a book than just writing a book. Since I am knee deep in “raising” the Anomaly trilogy – with each of the three books in a different “stage” – I’ll talk you through the process. Other writers, please feel free to correct, enhance or commiserate…:)
Stage 1: Pregnancy
In book writing, this is the “idea” stage. For Anomaly, this started in a meeting with the Thomas Nelson Fiction team, throwing around ideas for a YA Christian dystopian series. Some ideas were accepted, some rejected, some noted for further research later. It was fun! Then I went home and tried to bring all those ideas together, craft a plot and develop characters, create a world. Also quite fun. After that, my agent and I worked to put together a proposal to send to the publisher, and then, after some tweaks and discussion, the publisher accepted it, and I signed a contract.
Stage 2: Delivery
This is the toughest, but most rewarding part of the writing journey – for me, anyway. This is when all the books you’ve read, seminars you’ve attended, all the advice you’ve noted and plans you’ve made actually come to life. This is when you write. Red Smith said, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” And, yeah, it’s kind of like that. You, the writer, are in your story, in your characters. It is painful, cathartic, scary, and exhilerating all at the same time. I literally – thirty minutes ago – “delivered” the third book in the Anomaly trilogy. I am still recovering. I am sad that that part of the journey is over, proud of the product, and terrified of what lies ahead. Just like childbirth, the timeline for delivering a book is different for every writer. I “deliver” in a few months. Some people take years others, days. No matter what, though, there is pain involved.
Stage 3: Infancy
The book is “born” – then what? Think you’re done? Ha! If you’re like me, that “baby” is a hot mess, with all kinds of caretakers needed to jump in and lend a hand to get it fed and clothed and changed. When I finish a book, I send it on to my editors. They go through it and look for areas that aren’t quite right, plot lines that don’t connect, characters that aren’t as developed as they should be, holes that need to be filled. Then they send me their notes, and I get back to work, fixing those problems. Some books require more attention than others. But all of them need help. They aren’t ready to go out into that big bad world right away.
Stage 4: Childhood
Once I turn in the first set of edits, the editors go through and look for the smaller mistakes – words I use too much (“look” is always a problem), errors in mechanics, discrepencies in the timeline, things like that. So I go back to the manuscript, and I work on those issues.
Stage 5: Adolescence
This is where I am with the second book in the Anomaly trilogy, Luminary. It is almost ready to be on its own. It has been written, gone through both sets of edits, it is even typeset. But it still needs me. It needs a cover – though that is created by someone else (otherwise, you’d be looking a stick figure), I get a voice in the process. It also needs to be proofread. There will still be a few mistakes in there. Nothing major: a missing comma here, a misspelled word there. So I get a copy of it, and I go through that copy to try and catch those errors. Thankfully, I am not the only one who checks that – I am SO not a detail person!
Stage 6: Adulthood
Finally, the book is ready to be released to the world. And, believe me, that is almost as tough as delivering it. This is my baby! And now people are going to read it, criticize it, discard it, sell it on eBay for far less than it is worth. Oh, the horror. But some will appreciate it, some will say it has helped them, challenged them, encouraged them. Some will love it. Not all. But enough. And, though I write about it and have contests for it, though it sits on my shelf, it is no longer really mine. It belongs to the readers. Sigh. My baby is all grown up.