This is What Writing a Novel Looks Like.
1. Writer watches the cutest little plot bunny hop around the room. Its sexy and sassy and the writer can’t help but be drawn to the adorable little thing.
2. The stealthy writer begins to urge said plot bunny to tell its story. The writing begins.
3. The plot bunny takes a vacation about half way through telling his story leaving the writer scrambling to fill in the blanks.
4. Other interesting plot bunnies begin to visit. The writer must resist all temptations or its very likely the original bunny of a story will end up on the never finished folder in pit that is unfinished story ideas.
5. The persistent writer somehow manages to scrape together a draft of the story. The writer is happy for the first time in a while and enjoys a brief sigh of relief.
6. Relief for the poor writer doesn’t last long as they begin to read the drivel they put on the page. And while some of it may make the writer have some hope that there is really a story in the mass of words, the rest will make the writer cringe at the thought of what is still to come. The edits.
7. The write begins their edits with the vague hope of creating a coherent piece of work out of the rough draft that is in front of this. Tears, bruises (from head hitting desk) and the temptation to drink until the headache subsides must be overcome.
8. If the writer makes it through the edit phase, they will then give the work over to trusted readers and/or writerly friends to rip to shreds. This is where thick skin from years of rejections comes into play and the hope that something, maybe a tiny glimmer of something good is really in those pages.
9. The second pass of edits includes more rounds of bruising and tears, before the final polish.
10. If a writer is really unlucky this will not be the end of things for the WIP in question. Oh no, if the writer is really unlucky they will then find something said readers missed, and will weep some more before tackling the problem.
11. If you thought the writer was done at this point, I’m sorry to tell you, no. One might wish things were that easy, but they aren’t. At this point the writer must condense the entire story into a blurb of 150 words or so. This not only has to hook the editor, but give an interesting take on the story in question When every word counts and may or may not draw the attention of an editor, this is rough.
12. Nope, the writer still isn’t done. The writer must now condense the entire story into a synopsis, which is a bit of hell in and of itself. A few pages of condensed story that is both interesting and complete.
… still think a writer is done?
13. Dream on. If the writer isn’t sure where to send said story, research must be done. Careful research. The guidelines for submissions must be followed to the letter. If the guidelines call for purple text, well then, the writer better get that right. And if they’ve been through this stage more than once, they sure as HELL better get it right because its professionalism at its best.
14. The submission is checked, rechecked, cover letter triple checked, blurb tweaked, synopsis picked over and finally everything is sent via the exact submission instructions off to the editor/publisher/agent or what have you.
15. The writer is relieved once again. For about twenty seconds before panic begins to set in. If the writer is really unlucky they will find they made a mistake, a small typo, or could have used a better word in the cover letter. But nothing can be done now. Its sent. Its off. And for the next 8 to 12 weeks (longer for traditional publishing) the writer will wait, hovering by the mail wondering if the story will get a new home.
16. The results of this last step varies. It could end in tears, it could end in a contract. Either way, its still not over. Either personal edits after a Rejection or impending editor edits, cover sheet forms to fill out, and other things we will not go into because at this point, its just rinse and repeat of several steps above.
17. If the writer is lucky and everything goes well, by this step, everything has been done just right and the writer has a date for publication. The writer still isn’t done, unfortunately. How I wish it was. Because once this step has come to pass, there’s promo that must be set up. Blog tours, snippets, interviews, just to get your name out there in a huge sea of other writers doing the same thing as you.
18. The conclusion.
Writing is hard and don’t let anyone tell you its not work. If they do, show them this list.
No, editors do not edit your work for you. They polish and find the problems you missed.
No, your publisher does not do promotion for you. You must do it yourself. If you happen to have a publisher that does a little of the leg work on this. Keep them, make them happy, and kiss them, because this is rare.
No, you are not likely to make tons of money.
And finally… Yes and No.
Is all this shit worth it?
Yes, because if I wasn’t writing to sell, I’d still be writing.
And No, its not but if I wasn’t writing to sell, I’d still be writing.
Have a great day everyone. Don’t be frustrated with the process, it is what it is. But if you’re the type of writer who would still be writing whether you are trying to sell or not, might as well try and sell, right? Make a few bucks (and yes I do mean only a few). But never forget the first part. That wonderful part where the bunny hops by and says, I’m cute and sassy. Write me. Because that’s the best part right there.