What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I start with character names. I’ve tried to start with the outline first, but found it got confusing because I would plot out these scenes without knowing names and sometimes my notes wouldn’t make sense. Once I have my entire cast of characters figured out and how they’re all interconnected, I set to writing the chapter outlines. I used to do bullet points, but I’m starting to chart it all out in a three-column table so I can see notes about character development for each chapter and what kind of emotion needs to be conveyed. I never write a single word of the manuscript until I have the outline completely done and fine-tuned. Even when it’s done, something may come up in the course of writing the manuscript and things change, but I at least like to know where I’m going before I start.
About the same time I’m making this outline, I’ll make some basic notes about how I want the characters to develop over the course of the story. Will she get over a certain fear? Will he let go of a grudge? Stuff like that. Along with the chapter map, it helps me to understand the characters, which aids me when I’m writing out their dialogue and narrative.
Then, I start writing. I like to do about half a chapter a day, which can range from 2,000 to 3,500 words. If I’ve got a good flow going, I won’t stop there and keep going with the rest of the chapter. I like to divide up my point-of-view segments that way. So, you may see that half of the chapter is dedicated to the heroine’s perspective and then the other half is for her hero. Doing only half a chapter a day can help me reset and get into the other character’s mindset. When I’m not writing, I try to immerse myself into the next scene and get the right attitude. My day job is a blessing because I can listen to music, which will help set the mood for when I’m ready to write once I get home. The actual writing process could take me anywhere from a month and a half to two months. The exception was when I wrote a 85,000 word novel in a little over two weeks.
Once the final sentence is written, I usually treat myself to a nice dinner out with my husband or splurge on lunch for myself. Then, I give myself a couple of days to rest and regroup. Sometimes, I’ll work on the plot outline for another book or take some time to read or study the craft. Only then, once I’ve halfway emptied my head of the story, I’ll go back and do a first round of edits. Sometimes I’ll read it silently to myself, but I’ve found that I catch more typos when I have a text-to-speech program reading it to me. That could take me about a week, maybe two, because I’ll spend one afternoon editing two or three chapters.
Once my personal rounds of editing are done, I send it off to beta readers, editors, and carry on with the rest of the self-publishing process.