Yea! The sequel to Eyes of Light is out…in ebook. The print version will be out in another week or so. Sorry for the wait. But I’m really excited about Secret Keepers. I absolutely love the story (and that’s saying a lot since I’ve read it a bajillion times). Some of my sisters have hounded me about why this has taken so long. Today’s post is a simplified explanation of all the writing phases so you can understand why.
Phase 1- Building the Skeleton
Writing. This is my favorite phase. Most writers would love to stay here and never leave. I wrote the Eyes of Light trilogy in 3 months. When an idea comes, it comes fast and hard. I worked like crazy to get the bones and joints down on paper before the story left me. Would I have let any of you read it? Absolutely not. It was crappy writing. It’s the story skeleton. In this phase, plots and characters are formed, and settings are explored. It’s my favorite phase because it’s so creative and makes me feel like a kid again…in my imaginary world.
Phase 2 – Adding Muscle
Rewrite. Once you have your skeleton, then you need to do a lot of work to flesh it out with muscle tone. You take each bone in your story and start forming scenes of muscle around it until you have a strong plot and characters that can kick butt in the literary weight room.
Phase 3 – Energy and Blood
Beta-Readers/Rewrite. When the story is strong enough, I give it to a few first readers to give me their honest feedback. This helps me find holes in the body of my story that I’ve become blind to as the creator. Those holes, just like a human body, will leak blood and life from the story, weakening it. So in this phase, you find your wounds and stitch them up. What do readers like and not like? What characters are weak? Where does a reader get lost in the story? When you figure out some of these questions, it helps the rewrite to be a lot stronger. Energy and lifeblood soar through the veins of the story when one finishes this phase.
Phase 4 – Skin Care/Acne Treatment
Editing. Now your story is all fleshed out and blood flows through its veins. It’s good. You know your story’s good…but before you publish it, you need to make sure it’s not covered in literary pimples and blackheads. Editing is the skin treatment for your book. Love your skin–wash it, give it a cleansing mask, moisturize it, study it meticulously in your literary mirror and zap all the acne.
Nothing turns me off more than lots of typos and glaring errors in a book. I’m not talking about a couple errors (almost every book has those, even the most professionally edited ones). But nothing is worse than a book that has an error on almost every page. Even if the story’s amazing, I will knock it down in my rating because it annoyed me and wasn’t a pleasant reading experience. Grrrrrrr!
So love your book’s skin and make sure it shines. Editing can be a tedious and long process…but DO it. Read it aloud. Search and destroy overused words with Word’s Find feature. I have a list of words I look for; you can make your own when you start figuring out what you tend to overuse. Always use your spell checker (especially if you’ve gone back and made changes; I make most of my mistakes on revisions).
Final Phase – Going out on the town
Publishing. If you have a publisher, then you can skip this phase (lucky you). Now is when you put fancy clothes on your story (a nice cover) and go out on the town and hope people notice your book. To do this, you must format your story for both ebook and print distribution. Createspace is Amazon’s site for On-demand Print books. Their Kindle site does the digital version. Smashwords distributes ebooks to Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, etc. Each site has its own rules and specifications that take a while to figure out–just like my hoop slip did for my high school prom.
Hopefully you have a better understanding now of why it’s taken so long to get Secret Keepers out on the town. The 1st phase of writing is the most fun, but authors go through all the other hoops because we want to get our book in a Tux or Evening Gown so people notice it. Just make sure not to skip phases, or your book will end up sporting a mullet and a cheesy Wisconsin tuxedo.
(I’ll be having a giveaway next week once I’m closer to having the print version ready; stay tuned!)