Discover more from Table of Contents: 1. Writing 2. Publishing 3. Notes
The Three Stages
From conception to publication. The three stages of my current book projects.
The Three Stages
As promised, I’ll be writing about 1. Writing, 2. Publishing and my third “chapter heading” says Notes which leaves me wide open. As someone once said, a writer is never not writing. As I make my way through the day, my writer’s ears are always open even when I don’t notice that I’m listening, and my eyes are often observing even when my mind is drifting away from the scene at hand. I don’t carry a notebook with me as I used to do because I’ve learned that what I need most often comes back to me when I’m deep in the writing. A man I noticed on the subway will lend me his grumpy expression or a conversation I overheard at a coffee shop will make its way in some altered form into one of my scenes.
There are so many stages in creating a book or any work of art. Right now, I seem to be at the beginning, middle, and end of three projects but in reverse order.
I’m still getting the word out about my recently published memoir, Daughter of Spies: Wartime Secrets, Family Lies. This means I’m responding to requests to speak at various venues, I’m answering emails and web postings about the book and I’m continuing to post news on social media. I hope and expect that the end stage for this project will continue for a while as word-of-mouth spreads, book clubs ask me to speak, and readers continue to tell me how my book has resonated with them. No writer ever wants to stop hearing from readers. I hope I never get to the end of this end stage.
At the same time, I’m working my way through a revision of the Prequel to my fantasy novel, The Castle in the Attic so this project is the one at the middle stage. I’m rereading the manuscript out loud so I can hear all the word repeats. (As a smart editor/fellow writer pointed out, I used the word “suddenly” close to 50 times in this one book. It seems my characters were constantly surprising me.) I’m cutting lines or scenes to speed up the book, reluctantly giving up lovely little bits of research that I found fascinating but would probably bore my readers. I’m reconsidering the title and may reach out to you readers for ideas in the future. I love revision, this middle stage. The words are on the page/screen and now, before I send the story out, I have this golden chance to make those words sing. Here’s just one of the repeating “suddenlys.”
And finally, I’ve just begun to admit to myself that another book, the fourth in this fantasy series, has started speaking to me. This is the third project, the one at the beginning stage. I am keeping notes in my journal because I wake up in the morning with William, the main character, saying, I need to go to England and visit Mrs. Phillips and her brother, Richard. I want to see the castle in Northumberland when it was a ruin. I want to know how Sir Simon is doing.
Here's a look at my desk where all three of these projects are calling to me.
The copy of Daughter of Spies shows the post-it notes with time noted for each reading. The three-ring binder to the right of my laptop contains the Prequel with revision notes and the blue journal to the left is filling up with notes for the fourth book.
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