How to Turn a Rock of an Idea into a Diamond of a Book?
The Wright Writing Process
In my early years, I had inklings I wanted to do something with writing. I wrote silly songs that will never see the light of day outside my elementary school days. I will let no one read my first short stories because they were just me trying something out. But one thing I had always done was let my mind wander into imagined worlds.
Even when I was a small child, I was never alone. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a sibling, who knows? One thing I had was my stuffed animals. I’d play campfire. I’d place my fabric friends in a circle every week and tell them stories.
Fast forward a few decades and I found myself without a job and caring for my dying grandmother. I learned a lot about myself during that time. I learned a lot of skills too. This is when I got back into writing. I let myself dream again. When I opened that gate to my imagination, it didn’t stop. That’s when I realized I needed to write my stories.
The Progenitor Chronicles Begin
The first scene I’d ever written for this story was a scene that was edited into the second book of the series, The Equinox. I’d originally planned for it to be in the first book, but it didn’t flow well with the story. So, I saved it. In its original form, Darijus had come to Xendara on a hilltop. He didn’t know about Xendara’s powers and was amazed that all the surrounding life bowed to her will.
The second dream I had of this story was a labyrinth maze that ran under the palace. The evil was after Xendara, but her castle would protect her and so would Darijus. Perhaps it was my frequent visits to the mountains that finally changed that vision to trees and the maze of caverns underneath.
Whatever it was, the book was very different after several revisions.
Besides the random lighting strike of inspiration, sometimes it’s difficult to construct the full image of the idea. That’s why I start with a mind map of my ideas.
Mind maps are a great place for idea dumps. The best part about them is you can use them for anything, including coming up with ideas for a book. But for me, this is usually a time for me to write every weird, crazy idea that I can come up with—trust me, some of my ideas are bizarre.
But I love how they clear my head so that I can see the way forward with an idea. I start with the “What If” statement and go from there surrounding it with characters, plot ideas, and settings.
I’ve said before that I am not a plotter. In fact, I can’t handle plotting. I never thought I could plot until I took a writing course and plotted like a villain. I found I didn’t actually need to plot everything out, only the key points.
For me, I use the five key points plotting style.
2) exciting incident
3) the villain wins … sort of
4) the hero is thwarted by there’s hope
5) the climax
I put these up on a wall and, with the help of my mind map, I place sticky notes with scene ideas around each point. You can see more about this here.
I take the plot points and put them into Scrivener and beg writing. I will write a little every day. Sometimes I write about the story and other times I create side stories for the characters. In fact, I ended up in a writing block because I had to create a back story for Xendara’s friend Acacia. There had to be a reason she didn’t like Ronan, so I wrote several scenes I had no intention of sharing, but a few of them ended up in The Equinox.
Characters need a reason they react and if I, as the author, don’t know, I have to create side stories. They can vary in length. Some of them are only a paragraph, while others are several pages long, like Acacia’s story with Ronan.
It takes me about a month or two to write an entire 80k plus book. It just depends on what I have going on in real life.
Editing is, in fact, my favorite part of the writing experience. It’s where the rock becomes the diamond. But I go through several drafts before I send it to another human to read or edit.
The first step I do is arrange the scenes into chapters in Scrivener and then create a word document. The first pass through, I clean up the grammar and spelling errors with the help of ProWritingAid. This one of my favorite tools because an initial read through is difficult with glaring errors.
The second step I take is developmental and line editing. This is a little different for me than it would be for me doing this type of edit for someone else because I am the author. I take the opportunity during this phase to immerse myself into the character’s head and experience the story from their perspective. I ask myself how would I react in this situation? What would you see, feel, taste, or touch? The elements that are missing in the rough draft are then filled in while I go through the story.
It’s during this phase that I create a reverse outline of the story in Excel. I open a spreadsheet and write the five key plot points. Then for each chapter, I note when a character first appears, when significant events occur, power development if it’s a fantasy story, love interest moments, and a summary. I also include the approximate page numbers and word count.
With every draft I go though I update the information if it changes. If I find a plot hole or I realize I need a new scene to make the story flow, I mark it in the excel sheet with a summary of what I think needs to happen. I will also update how many drafts I go through.
Once the major edits are done, I copy, edit, and proofread before handing it over to human beta readers and editors. There’s a few back-and-forth weeks before I can say the story is polished into a diamond. Then I go over it one last time before I tell my launch team to get ready for a new story.
Authors use launch teams or advanced reader copy teams to introduce their book to the world. They are provided with an early copy of the book with the hope that the team will leave their review on the day the book is published.
Every author will distribute the books differently, but I send out eBooks to my team for free. This is a great way for me to get feedback. Sometimes there are a few errors that were missed in the first edition that I can fix before the book goes live. The books usually go out about a month before the launch date, by the end I usually send a few extra thank you emails to my team with virtual balloons and fireworks.
I do all of this while marketing my book. I get on social media, write this blog, write blogs for a different company, write newsletters to my bookish fans, and other marketing endeavors. All of this could take anywhere from six to eight months. It just depends on the size of the book.
For readers, if you’d like to be part of my launch team, join my newsletter to be the first to know when the launch team sign ups open again.
Writing a book is a unique process for every author. While there are millions of different books and techniques about writing books, each author has to find the process that works for them.
For me, a book’s journey starts with a dream, an idea, and a mind map.
If you’re an author like me, what’s your writing process? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.
If you want to know more about my writing journey feel free to leave your questions below.
Check out The Progenitor Chronicles Below
The Progenitor by Sara Wright
Peace was all Xendara desired, but her enemies hunger for her power. Princess Xendara is the heir to the throne, but her life is turned upside-down when a mysterious spaceship attacks. She learns her father had secrets. With his untimely demise, she must uncover them before her enemies remove her from power. In her quest to keep peace within the Six Systems, she discovers a power she didn’t know she had; a power that everyone is looking to exploit. With the help of her childhood friend Darijus, she unlocks long lost memories of her past, only to find his destiny is intertwined with her own. A prophecy guides her choices to the correct timeline. But can she trust a prophecy that foretells the death of a loved one? With the destiny of the Universe on the line, who she chooses to trust will divide a galaxy.
With powers her enemies aim to exploit, will she risk galactic war?
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Time Crystal by Sara Wright
The Progenitor Chronicles
Time Crystals are forbidden for a reason, but King Oren must use one to save a civilization.
King Oren’s only goal was to be a peaceful caretaker of the galaxy. But when a girl falls through a portal into his courtyard clutching a forbidden Time Crystal, his life changes.
With a cataclysmic event imminent, he must lead a group from his home system to the opposite side of the galaxy. Everyone looks to their seemingly immortal race for aid, but even with their elemental powers, they are far from perfect.
Armed with the Time Crystal, they seek to stop an exploding star from decimating an entire population. The problem is, he doesn’t know how to use the crystal. Even worse, he might die trying.
Will King Oren stop the star from exploding? Or will time unravel?