Writing Process

For those wondering about my progress here is the basic outline of my writing process:

Step Zero (1 month): Setting info
This was me doing the basic work of making the setting my book takes place in. Finding ways to make everything fit together and most importantly satisfying myself that what I had was enough to make a good novel.

One of the biggest hurtles I had was how the FTL would work. I wanted something that has not been done before. It took some time but I like what I ended up making.

Step One (1.5 months): Scene list
The first version of my scene list. I outlined every scene in the book.

Each scene has the POV (Point of view character, I am using third person limited so there is only one per scene) character, time, location, and a three sentience summary of the scene.

Step Two (1 year three months): First draft (56,532 words or 226 paperback pages)
The most important rule I had about the first draft was not going back over my work. If I started trying to make everything perfect in the first draft I would never get to the second draft.

I also did continual refinements to the scene list. It went through major overhauls at least three or four times (The scene list at the end of the first draft looks little like the one I started the first draft with).

Step Three (three weeks): Preparing for the second draft
In prep for the second draft I put in a lot of time working out more setting details. I also got a program that lets me create a starchart in 3d and I used it to make out where colonies are.

I developed a good idea of the cultures and history of all the major and most of the minor players.

I also typed up all my handwritten notes, and scanned all my diagrams. Mostly out of paranoia.

Step Four (2 months): second draft (60,969 words or 243 paperback pages)
I did several things during the second draft;

-Integrated the data from step three into the book.

-Make sure that if I changed anything half way through writing the first draft it was applied to the whole book.

-Make sure I spent enough time on each plot element (for example I had to turn one chapter into four).

-Went over all the more complicated things again and made sure they were explained well.

-Some light line editing. Will definitely have to do more line editing later.

Step Five (almost two months) The Third Draft (71,627 words or 286 paperback pages)
The third draft focused on several things.

-Expanding the world building. One of the reasons science fiction and fantasy books tend to be longer then normal is the amount of world building that is done. This is not a necessary evil, it is one of the things that attracts many people to the books.

-Making sure the character’s are heading in directions I want them to. Both of the main characters go through massive changes through the book, and I need to make sure that its working out well.

-Go through the minor and supporting characters, making sure they have the correct amount of screen time and decide if I need to eliminate them or combine them.

-Lastly I will look at the pacing of the book as a whole again and decide if anything needs to change. There are three areas that I need to greatly expand for example

Step Six (three weeks) The Fourth Draft (70,598 words or 283 paperback pages)
-Line editing and proof reading.

-Getting it separated into chapters and parts for my alpha readers.

Step Seven (four weeks) The Fifth Draft Revision One (81,200 words or 324 pages)
-Got feedback on the four major things that needed fixing, and about twice as many medium level things (important things that needed to be explained better for example).

-I fixed the major problems, and the medium problems. One of my readers had marked up the first quarter with minor stuff that needed to be fixed, I did that. It was stuff like taking two paragraphs to explain something instead of one, things that are hard to see when you have been working on the book for two years.

Step Eight (Ongoing) The Fifth Draft Revision Two
-Gave fixed draft to the alpha readers again.
-I added two scenes to flush out one of the character arc’s that was still unclear in one area (one of the problems with having a good that spans 2 years).
-The draft has many notes on where I need to explain or expand, which is what I am doing now.


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