Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why Does it Take so FREAKIN’ Long?

Photo Credit: Pennywise

Book two was written before my first book was published. As a matter of fact the entire WOA (Warriors of the Ages) series was.

So what gives? Either it’s finished or it’s not, right? Thing is, I didn’t say it was FINISHED, nor did I say it was DONE. I said it was written. Big difference. Huge.

The writing process varies for everyone. Here is how it works for me.

  • I write a story.
  • That can take from two weeks to about six.
  • It’s not ready then. Think of it as a skeleton. A skeleton is not a complete being. It’s a skeleton.
  • My book skeletons must be set away for awhile because I fall in love with them when I write them. THE POTENTIAL of those skeletons is huge. It is hard for me to see through that potential and realize there are femurs missing and possibly it has two heads.
  • When I’m ready to take off my rose colored glasses and look at that skeleton critically, only then can it come out of the closet.

  • At this point I check the bones, and hopefully doctor up any extra or missing parts.
  • By this time I’ve once again fallen in love with it, and I’m ready to work on it.
  • Here comes the tricky part. Adding insides, muscle, and flesh to the story skeleton.
  • After that I have a BABY! Yay!
  • My baby goes off to about five of what I call beta readers. I’m the alpha writer, they’re my beta readers. They get a first look at my baby.
  • Sometimes they say, “Man, yore baby ugly!”
  • Sometimes they say, “Didn’t you notice this baby has a tail?”
  • Sometimes they say, “There are seven toes on every foot and there are three feet.”
  • What they say can be pretty much endless.

  • Obviously my baby comes back pretty bruised and crying for its Mama.
  • Don’t tell, but I cry with it when that happens, and I hate my beta readers for a good minute.
  • Through my tears I notice that most of the beta readers said my baby has a tail, and a pointy head. I look closely. By George, it’s true.
  • So I fix it.
  • That takes as long as it takes. Surgery is like that. You know that if you’ve ever waited for someone to get out of the operating room.
  • After that my baby is PERFECT. So I send it off to meet five new beta readers. Not the other ones this time, they’ve been contaminated. They will stare so hard at the spot where the tail used to be that they’ll imagine it is there. The new beta readers won’t think anything at all about that little nub where I snipped it off.

  • Of course once again my baby comes back with problems.  His hair sticks up. He talks weird. He walks funny.
  • And of course once again I hate my beta readers for just a minute. Why can’t they just see the beauty in my baby? Why are they looking for flaws?! Oh wait – that’s their job. Oh yeah.
  • So once again I consider what the bulk of the betas’ said, and I look at my baby from every angle and make the necessary adjustments.
  • What I didn’t mention in this endless writer’s to do list, is that I reread my story countless times between each of these steps. I try to fix most problems BEFORE my betas can point them out. I never get them all.
  • After my baby has had plastic surgery, I may or may not send it to one or two people for a read, just to be sure. At any rate this is the point where my baby goes off to a professional editor.

  • Professional Editors are the Eye of Sauron. Very, very scary. You never know what they’ll say. They might say your baby will never walk right, or that it needs surgery. If you’re very fortunate, you’ll just get your baby back all covered in red, like something the Russian Mafia would leave behind in a cheap motel room.
  • The hating time for editors is a tad longer than a minute.
  • You will rant and rage. Your dog might run away – or your spouse. This all adds to your writing time while you go find them and apologize.

  • Eventually you’ll suck it up, Cupcake, and put on your big girl pants and start cleaning up what your editor did to your baby. It’s a hard job because you’re likely still blinded by a bit of that hate, and you’re not ServPro for pity’s sake.

After you’ve miraculously made your baby look alive again, you will gasp in wonder and amazement. An artist will give your baby something beautiful to wear (called a book cover). Your baby is now ready for its debut, and you will take all the credit for its loveliness, not your betas and editor. Yet all the hate you had for your editor has now turned to undying love, and you’ll spend $40 to send a box of goldfish crackers to your beta in UK.

Your book is now ready. Done. Fin. Well, except for a few little touchups required by the publisher.

S. R. Karfelt
Mostly I’m a takes no prisoners, no excuses kind of gal, but I want my lovely readers to understand the process. It takes awhile to get from:

            “Everyone likes to think rich guys want to marry them.”


            “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” ~ Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

That’s my theory anyway. Do you have one?


  1. My theory is that little evil gnomes come and try to steal away your ideas, befuddle the beauty, and therefore leave you with something a lot less spectacular in place of what you dreamed up.

    So you're stuck revising, trying to remember the ideads they stole.

    Damn Gnomes.

  2. The worst thing about gnomes, Kelsey, is there are so many of them!

    Thanks, LaD!

  3. I haven't had children for the reason of fearing they'll have a tail as well.

    Isn't it annoying that everything in life seems to start from scratch? Why should writing be the same? I asked my husband yesterday why the process was so difficult and ridiculous, and he just kind of looked at me. Didn't even blink.


  4. I love this! You must be Superwoman, though, because the thought of writing a novel in mere weeks makes my head spin.

  5. Don't be afraid, Katie. Those tails come in handy when the kids are little. It's easier to cross streets and stuff, you can hold on.

    Also, I think that the process becomes smoother and somewhat easier as time goes on. If anyone knows otherwise, please drive by without commenting. Thank you.

  6. J. S. Bailey - I'm not superwoman, though I can create a skeleton in as little as two weeks. It's all I do at that point in the process. For real. Like sixteen hours of sitting and writing a day.

    My neck sounds like a tree in the wind when I turn it afterwards.

    I don't do it for any reason other than it is easiest for me to keep my mind on all threads if I do it all at once.

    I'm easily distracted, so I focus exclusively on the skeleton.

    And it isn't very impressive when you realize how long the rest takes. So things like that all come out in the wash. Meaning I wrote my second novel eighteen months ago and I'm still on the plastic surgery part.

  7. On a good day I might get an hour or two of writing in. So I guess you're just squishing those hours into a shorter time frame!