Thirteen is such an interesting number! Why not lump a few steps together and call it ten? Or break a couple items apart and call it fifteen? Maybe I’m alone in preferring multiples of five; I don’t know. Anyway, this post at Writers Helping Writers caught my eye because of the number thirteen, so maybe that was a sensible choice after all: Write a Novel in 13 Steps
I’m betting I use … maybe … one or two of these steps. Let’s take a look —
- Choose your best idea … … … … or, for heaven’s sake, any idea. It can be really hard to pick something to work on!
- Mental Prep
- Writing. … … … … I think I would just start here.
- Celebrate the first draft … … … … This is a step? I totally do this!
- Read straight through
- Get feedback
- Edit … … … … some of these could certainly be lumped together. Revise and edit are the same thing as far as I’m concerned.
- Polish and proofread
- Final read
I think the final read is dispensable, because the endless rounds of proofreading encompass that.
Fine, okay, so, Rachel’s streamlined list:
- Choose an idea, any idea, for heaven’s sake just pick something! Throw a dart! Flip a coin!
- Write the novel. Good luck with the middle part!
- Celebrate the completion of the draft. YAY!
- Big revision you’ve known for ages you were going to have to do. That entire chapter you knew you were going to cut? Cut it now.
- Read straight through, doing smaller revision, cutting, and proofing as you go. All the editing you’ve known for ages you would have to do? Do it now.
- Pause, ideally.
- Read straight through, doing hopefully minor revision and cutting.
- Send to early readers
- Revise according to feedback from early readers.
- Proofread. Proofread some more. Proofread some more.
Ten steps. The pause is dispensable if you’re looking at a tight deadline.
As far as I’m concerned, step two — write the novel — deserves to be blown up into a ten-point list of its own. Or maybe a twelve-point list.
- Write the opening. Looking good!
- Write the next couple chapters. Looking good!
- Write the early middle.
- Cut the early middle and rewrite that part.
- Repeat step four.
- Hack your way through the rest of the middle. Start making notes about stuff that will need to be fixed later.
- Thank heaven you’re through the middle. Write the climax.
- There, whew! Reward yourself by writing the falling action chapters.
- Yay, finished draft! Celebrate!
- Cut all the stuff you know you really ought to cut. Trim throughout.
- Make all the revisions you started thinking about in step six.
- Read straight through, polishing as you go.
I know this is a personal list, but I sort of feel the majority of authors agree with me about the middle. Have I mentioned I’m in the middle of Silver Circle? Ugh, I hate the middle part.