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
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!
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