Monday, July 21, 2014

How I Wrote My Novel

by Kristine Carlson Asselin

Hi, Kris here. I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. I want to apologize to the rest of the Fall Fourteeners, and thank them for all of their posts and hard work.

I have a good excuse. I’ve been writing. Writing, revising, repeat. And now my draft is with my editor. And the design team is working on my cover. And I’m starting to freak out…just a little.
Because my book is digital, the lead time is shorter. So this thing is really coming out in the fall. And it’s not quite done yet. Did I mention freaking out a bit?

As I think about marketing and brand and promotion and strategy, I’ve been pondering the creative process. My editor bought this particular book from a two paragraph pitch. She had read a full-length MS that she passed on, but liked my writing and asked for something else—and fell in love with my new pitch. 

This novel literally didn’t exist last fall. And now it does. It exists. It’s real and my characters are real and I love them.

But it all feels a little surreal, to be honest. The novel on the shelf was written over the course of seven years. Compare that to seven months, and you’ll see why I’m freaking out. 

The first novel was the starter. My master class. The thing on which I learned how to write fiction. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was able to turn that into a new manuscript so quickly. And of course I knew I could do it. (Fake it, ‘til you make it, right?)
But wow. This thing exists.

Now that I’ve ranted all about freaking out, I thought I’d tell you how I wrote it.

Step one: After getting the go-ahead, I wrote 50K words in November 2013. NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated).  Fast drafting rocks. Turn off the inner editor and just write. As much as you can. As fast as you can.

Step two: On December 1, 2013, I immediately deleted more than 15K words. These were the ones that were back story or not important—they helped inform my characters, but they weren’t necessary words for the plot. Watching that word count drop hurt my heart!

Step three: I put the MS aside in December for the holidays. In the days after Christmas, I read it again. Contemplating. I might have done a scene inventory at this point. I sent my editor the first three chapters in January to make sure I was on the right track.

Step four: What’s missing? Definitely scene inventory now.

Step five: I sent the MS to a trusted beta reader who gave me some great suggestions about plot and how I had too many plot lines. I cut 15K words. Again. Ugh.

Step six: Bulk up plot lines that I wanted to keep. Read the MS again for consistency.

Step seven: Ask another beta reader to review. Make appropriate edits

Step eight: Send to editor

Keep in mind, it’s not done yet. I still have the editorial letter and the copy edits to go. But this gives you an idea of my process from the start of the writing to getting it on the editor’s desk.

I’m so excited to share it with the world!

Any Way You Slice It comes out in late fall 2014 from Bloomsbury Spark. If you’d like to put it on your “to read” list, it’s on Goodreads here: Any Way You Slice It

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