BTS (Not the KPop Group)

Did you ever wonder what happens from inception to the end of the writing process? If you’re a fellow writer, you probably aren’t unfamiliar with it. However, for readers, the writing process seems like a magical ritual where words spew forth from a writer’s brain and appear on a page right before their eyes as their eyes roll back in their head and they chant some dark spell.

Fact Check: very few of us actually invoke the dark forces to write our books. I’ve done it twice at the most.

Like any other job, writing a book (or anything) has a process. Steps that have to be taken (not necessarily in what’s considered the “proper” order). Today, I’m going to give you all a Behind the Scenes look at what happens when I write a new book.

From the beginning…to the end.

Step 1

Desperately try to think of an idea.

Scour your brain every second of every day. Wring your hands. Pull your hair out of your head. Hiss at the sun as it rises and growl up at the moon. All day long, think of what would make a dynamic story.

Finally, like a bolt of lightning to the brain, have an idea strike you while you’re showering and do not have access to your phone or other ways to jot down notes as the ideas invade your brain like ravenous zombies.

You can also wait until you’re just drifting off to sleep to think of your idea(s) and then grab your phone from the bedside table to take down your thoughts, thus shining blue light in your face that will keep you from falling asleep for another half hour. Up to you.

In all seriousness, ideas come from a lot of places. Maybe they’re prompted by a single idea for a character. Or a quote. A movie. A song. Something from the writer’s life or something they observed. It doesn’t really matter where the idea came from.

It’s just the first step.

Once an idea starts to form, notetaking and mental filing begin.

Step 2

Outlining, plotting, character sheets, world-building, and lots of other things that keep you distracted from having to write that perfect first line that will draw readers in immediately.

Okay. So, this step looks different to every writer. It depends on if they are a plotter, pantser, or plantser. Or a combination of two or three. Some writers choose to just dive in and see what happens (pantser). Some writers choose to make a few notes and a rough outline (plantser). Other writers want to do all of the things mentioned above (plotter).

Regardless, a writer needs to have–in their head, at the bare minimum–who their characters are, what’s going to happen, and where it’s going to happen. They need to know the POV. They need to know the beginning, the middle, and the end.

The rest is negotiable.

Then again, if a writer is a true pantser, they might just wing it. Some amazing things can happen when a writer gives themselves the freedom to just write and see what comes out.

I’ve been a pantser, plantser, and plotter at different times, depending on the book. Sometimes I am a combination. Things usually go best when I plants.

Step 3

Write those words.

Right after checking Twitter, the DMs, emails, Buzzfeed, CNN, BoredPanda, Wordle, a few rounds of Among Us, and going into your husband’s office to see if you can annoy him in some way.

For me, the writing is the hardest part. Whether I am winging it or going off of an outline, getting the words down is difficult.

This is because it takes focus, concentration, as few distractions as possible, and discipline. Even if you’re an average typist and can manage 40 words a minute, you’re only going to manage to get 2400 words down in an hour of writing.

Most writers I know can manage a half-hour or one hour of writing a day. Maybe less. Most writers have day jobs because until a project takes off and finds a huge audience, writing for a living is not possible for many writers.

So, at best, a writer will get 2400 words in an hour of writing. That’s if they know exactly what they want to write. To technically qualify as a novel, 50,000 words are needed, and most novels are longer than that.

Technically, a writer, as described above, can have a novel in 20.84 days.

But that’s incredibly unrealistic. Unless it’s NaNoWriMo season.

Plenty of writers have written 50k+ words during the month of November, year after year. It’s pretty rare that what’s written during that month because a complete and ready to go novel, though. To do that, tons of preparation work is needed during the first ten months of the year. And those aforementioned dark forces are called upon.

I’ve managed it once. ONCE.

Regardless, let’s assume that a writer needs 1-6 months to write an “okay” first draft manuscript.

Step 4+

Developmental editing. Alpha readers. Editing. Beta readers. More editing. Sensitivity readers. More editing. Line edits. Proofreading. Cover design. Interior design. Getting ISBNs (or not). Copyrighting (or not). The next several months or years after a first draft is done is all of these things.

This is if the writer is self-published or indie.

If a writer goes the traditional publishing route, this process is definitely years. Querying agents. Rejections, half-requests, full-requests, rejections. Then…they (hopefully) get signed before they give up on their book. The agent and writer work together to make the manuscript even better. Maybe get more readers to give it another pass. Try to sell the manuscript to a publisher.

And the process of editing and reading starts over again.

Writing a book is an arduous process that might produce a product that never ends up in the hands of the general public. Even if it does, there’s zero guarantee readers will even care. Or like it.

It really makes you wonder why writers…write. Right? Right.

Well, I write because it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t not write. I’ve also addressed why I write here.

Regardless, here is how one of my latest projects went through the steps mentioned above.

POSSIBLY TEXAS

In September of 2020, I came up with an idea for a quirky little town and the teenage boy who ends up there after spending most of his life on the road with his mother.

For two months, I plotted and drafted and brainstormed. I knew the first third of the book would be introducing the town, the cast, and setting several plot lines into motion. And it would be at least 50k. So, I focused on that part of the book. There was NO WAY I was going to write the entire book in one month. But I could get in the first 50k words.

When NaNoWriMo 2020 commenced, I wrote those words in 21-ish days, declared myself NaNoWriMo Winner, and moved on to other things for the rest of 2020. All through the first six months of 2021, I plotted and planned the rest of the book, wrote words when I could–in between other projects–worked with my developmental editor, had alpha readers read it, edited, beta readers, blah blah blah.

I made playlists and character sheets and fleshed out scenes and went back and changed dialogue and mythology. Changed scenes and dialogue that gave too much of the plot away too early. I rinsed, repeated, then rinsed and repeated several more times.

I worked, worked, fucking worked.

And now…POSSIBLY TEXAS is done.

Seventeen months from idea to completion. Right now, I’m dying to get the book in the hands of readers.

I hope they love it.

It’s not magic. It’s commitment, focus, and drive.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,
Chase

PS – Don’t forget to check out the first ever Author Quick-Fire Questions with Jessica Calla!

PPS – Have you seen my “Indie Recommends Indie” on Armed with A Book?

Begin Again

Happy New Year/New Blog Post, my reader-friends! I hope you’ve all arrived healthy, happy, and hopeful. The last two years have been…something. Right? It feels like we’ve all been in suspended animation for a while. We’re all starting to figure out how to live life again with new rules and guidelines.

Now that I mention it…

Do you ever stop and wonder how you’ll ever start again?

Well, if you haven’t read my previous posts ‘A New Adventure‘ and ‘Adieu,’ they might give some much-needed context for this post.

Leaving 2021 (and every other year behind), 2022 is the year I really stretch my legs as a writer.

As mentioned in the two posts I’ve linked, Young Adult is something I’m leaving behind. It has served its purpose for me, but I need more. Specifically, from my writing life.

I don’t want to have the first post of the year be about what I’ve written about enough already. So, I won’t rehash all of the “Young Adult Stuff.” I also don’t want to have the first post of the year be one in which I ramble incoherently.

Instead, I want to say that I am starting anew. Chase Connor, the writer, is a new man. He’s going to try new, exciting, things. He’s going to see what all he can be as a writer. And he invites you to come along for the trip.

I hate people who talk in the third person. Someone tell me to shut up, please.

So, I hope everyone is excited about a new leg of our journey together. I promise to deliver lots of engaging, exciting stories, great characters, and intricate plots to keep you flipping pages.

This is also a good time to let everyone know that I’m going back to the pre-COVID posting schedule. There will be a blog post on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month. Twice a month, every month.

To give a preview of what’s to come–in case you haven’t been paying attention–lots of great books on the way. This year will bring:

TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES on Kindle Vella. POSSIBLY TEXAS–a magical realism story set in a fictional town full of quirky characters and locales. THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR–the sequel to BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE. THATCHER GRAVES AND THE DEMON’S CURSE (THE THATCHER GRAVES SERIES – BOOK ONE)–a fantasy/paranormal series. And there might be some JACOB MICHAELS IS… thrown in for good measure.

In case you missed it on Twitter, I’ve also announced the sequel to A SURPLUS OF LIGHT, THE BEES AND OTHER WILD THINGS, is being prepared for publication.

More on that in time…

So, a lot of exciting things are on the way! I can’t wait to share them all with you. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few book covers to whet your appetites.

We’ll be “talking” soon.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase