Monday, February 15, 2016

Keeping Pace - Guest Post

Keeping Pace
Deirdre Verne 

One question that makes laugh is how do you write a book? It’s such an enormous question as it covers multiple topics. Do I write an outline? No. How do I come up with a plot? Talk to me when I’m one hundred pages in. How do I come up with characters? By remembering the lady who cut me in line at the supermarket. There are so many layers to writing a book; it’s almost as hard to start a book as it is to describe how to write one.

Here, I’m going to talk about how I pace myself since I’ve rarely heard an author discuss this aspect of writing. A writing contract for a series stipulates a deadline for each manuscript. Twelve months is fairly standard. That means I have one year to produce a book and once the clock starts ticking there’s no going back. The only way I can psych myself into this schedule is by developing a two to three sentence vision statement before the twelve month period begins.

I’m not asking a lot of myself at this early stage of the process, but I’d be paralyzed without a short statement that goes something like this: This is a book about a free-spirited artist whose friend is found at the bottom of a garbage pile. She uses her artistic talents to uncover a twisted trail of “refuse” that ends up, surprisingly, in her own front yard. She has a cute boyfriend.

With my rough vision down on paper, I then take out my calendar and plan my writing schedule, which includes how much per week I’ll need to write in order to finish in six months. Six months? I thought you had a year? I do, but I have to account for the unaccountable – like a broken ankle, Feb 2014. I also have to budget time for test readers. I like to send my draft out to two or three people for comments. Depending upon their schedule, this will cost me a few months and that’s not even including the subsequent edits I’ll make. At the ten-month mark, I’ll take a break and let the manuscript sit. By month eleven, I’m back in business conducting a careful analysis of each page and making final changes.

Month twelve? I’m racking my brain in a desperate effort to find the next vision statement. And guess what? I’m ahead of schedule this year so it looks like I’ll be starting a new book soon.

Deirdre Verne writes the Sketch in Time Mystery series. Drawing Blood, the second in the series, was released February 8th. Check out my previous interview with Deirdre here.

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting interview. I don't know how authors can think of a story line, much less write a book.