A Little Background

The book is out to the beta readers. My critique group is two chapters away from finishing the book. And I find myself in an odd place – NOT working on the book for a change!

After more than two years of slaving away on this book night after night, it feels weird to be taking a break.

My brain is still working, though, and lately I’ve been churning up a lot of ideas for Book # 2. I have a trilogy planned, and now that Book # 1 is at a resting stage, I find myself thinking ahead, daydreaming about what will happen in the next book.

I’m starting to sit down and get some of these ideas on paper, using my outlining class material and workbook to organize my thoughts.

The first time I set out to write a book, I wandered blindly through a few chapters, writing and re-writing and editing over and over, but never really making any progress past the first few chapters. Once I took the outlining class and got myself organized, the book flowed much quicker.

This time, I plan to do it differently. Start with the outline, flesh out the ideas, and then begin writing the first draft.

I thought you might like a peek into the process of what it takes to write a book, or at least MY process. Every writer is different, and each one has a unique process that brings him or her from idea to finished product.

Here are the steps that worked for me – beginning with a “map.”

This wasn’t actually part of the outlining class, but it came from a book I read called “The Writer’s Compass” by Nancy Ellen Dodd. I’m a visual learner and thinker, so the idea of “mapping” out your story made sense to me.

Here is a picture of my “story map,” which is still hanging on the closet door of my home office.

story-map

You probably can’t see it very well, and even if you could, it probably wouldn’t make a lot of sense. The point is that it divides your story into sections, and in each section, certain things need to happen to take the characters — and thereby the reader — through the story.

This is what got me started, but in my next post, I’ll talk more about what I learned in the outlining class.

As always, I covet your prayers for the book, that God will take it wherever He chooses, and that it will touch the lives He intends for it to impact. And pray for me, that I would continue to be faithful and obedient to do what He’s called me to do.

Still plugging away

So, it’s the end of August. How did that happen? Days turn into nights, which turn into weeks, which turn into months. Spring is gone. Summer is gone. It’s almost September.

I love Fall. It’s my favorite season, especially in Georgia, where we get to enjoy the beautiful leaves in brilliant¬†yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s been a long, hot summer, and I’m ready for cooler temps, crisp air, and cute sweaters.

I’m still plugging away at getting the manuscript ready to submit to the publisher. Yes, it takes that long. Even longer sometimes.

My critique group is only 4 chapters away from the end of the book, so they should be completely through it in about a month or so. I’m editing, proofreading, re-writing, and editing some more, and starting to think about beta readers.

What is a beta reader, you ask?¬†Well, according to the wonderful “Wikipedia,” a beta reader is: “a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting.”

This does not necessarily include your mother and your best friend – who, by the way, were my “alpha” readers.

Choosing the right beta readers is important, and I have a select few people that the Lord has laid on my heart that I’m going to reach out to in the next few weeks.

In addition to editing and re-writing, I’ve been contemplating a few writers conferences to attend in the coming year and even praying about sending the manuscript to a freelance editor before I submit to the publisher.

Through it all, I’m praying and asking the Lord for guidance and wisdom. This is His work, and I’m just blessed enough to get to come along for the ride and see what He will do with my tiny offering.

As always, I appreciate your prayers and support. Happy Fall, y’all!