Three tweaks to my writing process enabled me to finish The Case of the Missing Drag Queen in a record-breaking four months rather than the usual twelve or more needed to write my first four books. To be honest, the changes brought my process more in line with what experts recommend. #SlowLearner
Tweak #1: Write Every Day
I tried to write every day. In the past, I’ve waited for weekends and other days off and written until I simply couldn’t write anymore. The greater the time between sessions, the longer it took to get back into the story, and the more likely I was to waste time editing and revising instead of adding new chapters.
Tweak #2: Stop in the Middle of a Scene
Thanks to my outline, I always know what’s coming. Even so, getting the ball rolling on a new scene often involves many false starts and a lot of staring at the screen. Picking up where I left off in the middle of the scene enabled me to hit the ground running to make the most of my limited writing time.
Tweak #3: Finish the First Draft ASAP
Rereading novel-length manuscripts takes time — even without any editing. Waiting until the first draft was finished to reread and revise the story was a huge challenge for me. I wanted to go back to Chapter One, but knew I’d spend hours editing if I did. Sticking to my guns knocked about eight months off of my novel-writing process.
In the past, a desire to avoid massive revisions was my excuse for editing and revising so much along the way. I did reread and edited The Case of the Missing Drag Queen when I finished Act One. For the rest of the story, once the scene was finished, I focused on the finish line and never looked back.
Rereading the story for the first time (rather than the umpteenth, as would have been the case with my earlier works) was a treat. Much to my surprise, the manuscript needed very little editing and few revisions. I got a kick out of the story, and I think readers will too.
I sent the first draft to one of my mentors last week. Yesterday I sent the finished manuscript to my beta readers. I’m looking forward to their comments and reactions to the story. As always, I’ll keep you posted.