October 17, 2011

The book is done, now what?

One of the best feelings in a writer's life occurs when the current work is completed.  There's a rush of adrenaline as your brain processes the fact that the project that has played such a dominant role in your life is done, baby done! 

This was especially happy news for me, because the completed work--my soon-to-be-published eBook A Kiss of a Different Color--was started way back in 2006, five long years ago.  I knew the basic premise of the story, but I didn't have a strong conflict.  As every reader and writer knows, with no conflict there is no story.  I put it aside to work on contracted projects and came back to it periodically to try to work it out, but it wasn't until earlier this year that a strong plotline finally came to me.  This story had germinated for so long that my editor asked me to clarify the time setting because she was confused.  An exchange early in the story has the heroine stating she's not familiar with pomegranate, and my editor pointed out that in recent years, this fruit has been featured in many bottled fruit juices, which made that piece of dialogue seem more like 2006 than 2011.

So now that the book is done, what happens next? For me, it's a cinch:  I get myself organized for the next book...in my case the next several books.

In the weeks while I am working on the next-to-last set of edits, I traditionally create quite a bit of new text for my follow-up projects, because editing isn't really writing and usually gives me a frenzied desire to create something new.  I end up with half-organized snippets of text in a dozen or so files.  My latest preferred method is to dictate into my handheld recorder that comes with a special version of Dragon software, which I then plug into my computer and it transcribes what I've dictated.  I save each file by date and bring my handheld with me everywhere, whether driving or out walking.  I remain grateful to my friend and fellow author Roslyn Carrington (AKA "Simona Taylor") for introducing me to Dragon, which I also have installed on my laptop for direct dictation that is transcribed as I speak).

I am, rather ambitiously, working on actual narrative and dialogue for a contemporary romance and a women's fiction, a re-write of my 2006 novel One on One, plus plotting out a follow-up to a plot thread I started in The Heat of Heat that readers have been asking me for.  Somewhere in there I will also work on another release of a previous title in eBook format...one of the more recent ones that I won't have to tinker with (One on One has changed so much that I'll have to file for a new copyright).

My first step is to organize all those scattered documents into one file by dates within each project, with page breaks between each project.  I did that yesterday.  Then I cut and paste the text into the existing MS Word document (I used to start my projects in MS Word), and then cut and paste by chapter into Scrivener, my new preferred software for writing a book.  Scrivener is especially friendly toward my sometimes haphazard way of writing, as I don't write sequentially and often have gaps in my story.  From there I mark the status of each chapter as being a first draft, revised draft, or to be written as I fill in notes about what should happen in missing areas.  I'm in the process of doing this now.

Somewhere in there I am able to get a word count for each project, and I was thrilled to see that I have over 62K words for my contemporary romance WIP, which I actually finished outlining several years ago.  I am eager to publish this story (working title Isn't She Lovely?) because it has a political theme at its core, and with the presidential election coming up in a year it will be particularly relevant.  I'm feeling pretty good about being two-thirds done with this, to the point where I feel that it might be ready in the late winter rather than mid-spring.

I have yet to determine the word counts for my women's fiction project, but I do know that a little bit of writing at a time adds up to a lot of text.  Just as some writers prefer not to edit as they go along, I prefer not to check my word counts in the beginning.

So that's my process.  I've got to drive down to Gurnee, Illinois this morning, so I'll be taking the back roads rather than the highway and will be dictating all the way!  There is no rest for weary writers...


PatriciaW said...

Congrats on all your writing projects and your epublishing success, Bettye. I remember when you used to say you wrote slowly. Not anymore!

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, Patricia! I still say I don't write fast...but I write often. It makes a huge difference because those words add up.

BTW, love the new profile picture!

Katrina Spencer said...

I loved this post Bettye! Its good that you stay busy on so many projects, I envy you that. I have a diary I keep of my writing ideas, and I know which book I'm going to write next, but I don't actually start working on it until after I finish my WIP. I don't know you do it all, but congrats on doing it all!

bettye griffin said...

Katrina, the most important thing is that you do what works for you! Just keep writing!

As for ideas, I should live so long to turn all of mine into books!