7 January 2014

New Year, New Novel: The Bull At The Gate

Earlier today I nailed The Bull At The Gate, the second in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy. 100,376 words done, if not dusted. Pick up a glass of something sparkling and share my celebration.

I write slowly and edit constantly, so what is now sitting in various Word files will be close to what appears between the covers. But the blood-sweating creativity is only part of the process of bringing a novel to the hands of readers. The hard-headed, and hopefully clear-minded, business end of the process now begins, and I thought I'd share my step-by-step system:

1) to maintain a forward momentum while writing I add in a mass of queries as I go via marginal Comments: these need to be chased down and resolved
2) a structural check/edit to ensure:
-  the balance of the pacing
- that information harvested – the dramatic edge – has been previously secured via seeding and nurturing before it is needed in fruition
-  the three parallel storylines share the correct level of billing 
- that subplots and historical & contemporary detailing remain in subordinate roles
3) a line edit
4) an automated edit check via software to help identify anything I've missed
5) a second line edit
6) a beta readers’ check
7) mulling queries the beta readers highlight and marking priorities for change or honing
8) resolve priorities in order
9) a (hopefully) combined edit + polish, alongside identifying useful snippets for promotional purposes

…and then both it and I shall collapse in separate heaps to moulder, sorry, mature, like good cheese - make that wine - while I reconsider a rather flimsy marketing plan. But that’s a whole other post.

As can be seen, the most pressing of these – the digital cover – has already been completed, by Karri Klawiter, though she won’t be able to finish the wraparound for the paperback until I know its dimensions. And that, too, is a whole other post.


  1. "rather flimsy marketing plan" - the story of my writing life ;-) My process is similar (imagine that) but I have a beta reader who's only in it for the story read the second draft before I edit further to check for confusing situations I may then have to rewrite. After my next to final edit, I send to nit-picky grammar-knowledgeable readers to catch typos and such. Nice cover!

    1. Thanks for calling by LK. The editing system used to be as flimsy as the marketing plan, or at least as hit & miss, but I find a true thought-through plan helps enormously. If you come up with a fully thought-through marketing plan before I do, let me know - LOL!

  2. Thanks for posting about your editing process. Your plan is very interesting because it's this aspect of writing that I always struggle with. What software do you use Linda?

    1. Hi Vasiliki, it's a long time since we've spoken. I hope you are doing well.

      During the year I've road-tested the free version of Pro Writing Aid - http://prowritingaid.com/ - ideal for short fiction, but I'm purchasing the premium version to tackle the novel. You'll find a clickable link on my Author Resources page of this blog. I hope this helps.

  3. I also use Pro Writing Aid, and I happily recommend it. Your editing process is entirely different from my own, Linda, but you edit constantly, whereas I write the full story first and then begin the editing process. Different writers, different schemes. So long as it works for you, it's fine. I think if I were to edit whilst composing, I'd never get past the first page! But, like you, I have a structured editing plan for when I start that process (currently doing that, in fact). Looking forward to reading Bull at The Gate, especially since I enjoyed Torc of moonlight so much.

    1. Oh yes, every author's editing system has a caveat. The trick, I think, is to see how others do it, try it on one's own work, and make adjustments. I simply can't do what is often called a 'fast and dirty draft' because nuance plays a leading role in the forward momentum. Or maybe I'm just a slow writer - LOL!

      Glad you can can endorse Pro Writing Aid as a benefit. And watch this space for the announcement that The Bull At The Gate has gone live.