Friday, September 26, 2014

An Indie Author’s Writing Schedule (How I Write A Book Every Two Months)

It’s all in the outline.

I do something that’s pretty unique among writers, which is I develop a VERY thorough outline. I have an eight week timeline for each of my books, and I devote an entire week, start to finish, to completely outlining each project. I’ll sit on my bed and spend about a day or two just brainstorming with a notebook. First I’ll brainstorm an idea, and once I have an idea, I’ll list out every fun, mind-bending twist I can think of, then I’ll write out ways to get all that stuff in the book. I’ll also brainstorm character. For my cast of characters, I try to come up with the following: a strength, a weak
ness, a backstory wound, a deep yearning (related to the backstory wound) and then a story goal. With these filled out, the characters become real people and they’re ready to enter the story.

Next, I sit at my computer and fill out individual scenes, trying to cram in everything I came up with during the brainstorming session. It ends up being about ten to fifteen thousand words of just outline, which is a hefty chunk considering the books end up at about sixty to seventy thousand words. Normally, I’ll have between 120 to 160 scenes in a book, for around 300 to 500 words per scene. I play around with this outline until I’m completely satisfied that everything is properly motivated and crazy suspenseful, and then and only then do I go onto the writing.

I spend the next six weeks writing, and follow the outline to the tee. I do deviate when I come up with really clever new elements, but since I delve pretty deep during the outline stage, there’s usually not much else I can come up with. I will end up moving things around a bit though as the story unfolds. My goal is 2000 words per day, and I usually end up with around 2200 to 2500. I write eight hours a day, and since everything’s already been ironed out during the outlining stage, the copy is clean and nearly ready as is. Then I read the book in its entirety and take notes on everything I could do to make the story better.

The last week of my eight week schedule I spend editing. There’s not much to do (hopefully) and I usually squeeze in cover design and formatting into this stage. After eight weeks, the book is done, and I hand it off to my lovely fiancée and my proofreaders for any final suggestions and a last pass to clean up grammar. Then it’s on to the next!

If you’re a fan of my books and you’d like to help support me as an indie author, or you just want to see what’s in the works, then I invite you sign up for my newsletter at this link (or just enter your email below and click subscribe). Joining my newsletter is the single most significant thing you can to support me as an author. It’s my only way of staying in touch with fans and building my reader base. It’s also a good deal for you, because you’ll get a steady stream of awesome, mindbending YA novels with awesome twists straight to your inbox:)

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