When your book is ready
When do you know your story is ready?
For the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop, that’s the question being posed. The funny thing is, I’m not sure how to take it:
When do I know my story is ready to be written?
Sometimes stories have to sit in my brain for a while before they’re ready to be written. The characters slowly form in both my conscious and subconscious mind. They take on their lives, loves, unique characteristics. I’ll see something or hear something or read something and it will make me thing of the character. In this way they slowly grow into live people (in my mind).
The story, itself, along with the characters will slowly form as well. Something about a character will make me think that they have to do a certain something. Thinking about what they like or what they need will lead me to think about what they need to do because of that or how they’re going to attain their goals (well, and I have to think about what those goals might be). I do a lot of this in my head before I even sit down to plot and plan.
But I do plot as well. I am very much a plotter. So, even after my characters form in my head and I have an idea of what the story might be, I will sit down with my worksheets and set everything down on paper (long-hand!). I’ll figure out all the details of my characters and write down everything I’ve already thought about. I’ll plot out my character arcs and the arc of the story itself.
Only after I’ve got everything plotted out, figured out and shaped in both my head and on paper, is my story ready to be written.
Because I’ve planned it all out, the writing is pretty fast and easy. I do stop at about the 1/3 mark to adjust my character arcs as my characters have revealed themselves to me through their dialogue and actions. And sometimes because of the adjustments to the characters, I need to adjust the story to fit them. I’ll stop again around the 2/3 mark to make sure everything is going the way it should. But basically, if all is going well and as planned (which doesn’t always happen, but it’s fantastic when it does), I’ll just zip through writing a scene or two a day until the story is done.
After that I edit the book, read through it a few times both silently and out loud before I send it off to my editor who will send me her comments and suggestions.
So how do I know when the story is ready to be published?
After I’ve been through it until I can no longer look at my manuscript. After it’s been edited and proofread and beta read, and after I’ve incorporated all of the comments given to me (or thrown them out because I didn’t agree—that’s okay too, and I do that).
Once I know it’s as good as it’s going to get I’ll format it and make it as pretty as I can. I’ve already gotten a cover for it by a professional designer and I’ve worked hard (seriously, really, really hard) at writing my book description. That’s when I know my story is ready to be sent out into the world.
And that when I start to worry about whether anyone will like it. Whether it’s good enough. Whether I should have… well… it’s too late. It was ready and now it’s gone. Enjoy!
Oh, and as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, my website has gotten a major overhaul. Please tell me what you think! And if you like it, zip over to Novel Publicity and check out Melissa Storm’s work.