So, if you read the title of this post, you would know that I have written a book. Now you might be wondering, what’s it like? Well, let me tell you!
Writing a novel was an amazing experience for me, and I’m so glad I let the idea I’d had in my mind grow into something more, but the process was nothing that I thought it would be. I’m not gonna lie, but it was really hard. My biggest struggle with the whole process was something that not many authors have a problem with: word count. No matter how hard I tried, my word count would continue to be way too low for how far I was into the plot. It wasn’t until my third draft that I realized what I had done… I wasn’t being as descriptive as I needed to be (at least in the beginning chapters). At the beginning of writing my book, I barely knew the character in my mind. I would ask her question after question, and she just wouldn’t open up. At the beginning of this journey I didn’t know what kinds of things she would say or how she would react to certain situations. Towards the end, though, I knew her as if she was myself, and that was the point in the story where I would get more descriptive and more confident about my main and supporting characters. As a result, I basically had to rewrite the entire first half of the book. This may seem like a long, tedious process, but it was definitely necessary and really helped me expand in my writing.
Here are the steps I took to write my book:
Some authors outline, some don’t. Though I ended up changing most of what I had originally plot, I found that it made it easier to start writing the story when I had my ideas at that time written down. And it’s pretty quick to do, too! I was able to finish mine in one day.
2. FIRST DRAFT
This was what took the most time when it came to the whole process. The first draft is usually the author’s biggest struggle, but it can be the exciting part, too! You get to discover your character and the plot for the first time and write it down in detail. By the end it’s usually a mess and jumble of plot points and words, but that can always be fixed later!
3. PAPER EDITS
The day I finished the book I rushed over to FedEx bright and early in the morning to have it printed and bound. Doing edits by hand isn’t necessary, but it is recommended since handwriting and editing without a computer screen stimulates different creativity parts in your brain (fact proven, I promise). Also, it’s so nice to see the words you typed printed on a piece of paper!
4. DRAFTS, DRAFTS, AND MORE DRAFTS
After I finished editing on the printed copy of my book, I entered my edits into the computer copy of my first draft. I also made some finer detail changes as I went. I continued to do this, making new drafts as I went. All in all, I ended up making four drafts and doubled my word count! Editing was extremely difficult, but again, it helped my plot grow and the characters have more quirks!
So, now that I have made my book as good as I can get it, though it is far, far from perfect, I can begin querying for agents. Literary agents are the people who make your book happen. They help you find a publisher, an editor, help develop your story even more, and much more. In order to find an agent, you need to research them, find the one you think would work well for you, and send them a query letter that talks about your book. Sound easy? Here’s the hard part: most agents turn you down. I’ve already sent five queries, and I’ve been turned down by all of them. It took J.K Rowling twenty tries until she finally found an agent, and look at her now! Don’t let that make you feel like it will never happen, because it most definitely can. Most agents just feel that your book doesn’t call to them or wouldn’t be a good fit, which means that you just haven’t found the right agent yet. If you are still struggling, take a break from your book. Make some more edits if you need to. Write a new, fresh query letter. It may seem impossible, but you can do it! I know you can!