Ah, laundry! The never ending cycle! You throw the clothes in the wash… and then the dryer… and then you wear them. (Sometimes you fold them, if you’re civilized.) And then… back in the wash! Yes, the circle of life!
And it’s a lot like writing.
Well, kind of.
See, when you’re preparing a book for publication, you don’t just write. You revise. You edit. You take notes from your publisher. And it’s this endless cycle… until a book’s in your hands!
And then you start over again.
This is the way it goes for me:
I start with the idea for the book and/or series. Yay! An idea! All is bright shining new! I’m excited. My partner in crime, my wife, is excited.
Time to outline! Let’s see if we can get the general shape of the characters and the plot down. All right. Still excited.
Rough draft time! Following the outline (for the most part), I get words on a page. Lots of typing at that keyboard. This step is a lot of work as words create worlds. It can be at times exciting, scary, aggravating, and plodding.
And then the rough draft is done. The novel has a shape!
Almost immediately I go back in to do an fast revision. I added a twist in the last part; I need to make sure it’s set up early on. A character has a sword later in the book; does she have that sword earlier? I’ll tackle all that while it’s still fresh in my mind. This revision usually goes very quickly, as I still have everything in my mind and I’m generally only fixing “big” stuff.
And then… it goes to my editor. Some people also call her my wife.
It’s me. I’m some people.
She does a developmental edit. That means she goes through and catches the big stuff. “This character wouldn’t agree to this. You have a plot hole here. You set something up here that never happens.”
So a month or two after that first revision, I take her notes and revise again. This time it’s not as exciting. I’ve looked at these words enough times before.
Then it goes back to my long-suffering editor. She goes through a line edit, covering every single sentence. Does it make sense? Does it communicate well? What’s the vocabulary level like?
And then I go through… again… with her notes, fixing as much as possible.
And then we get to proofread, fixing typos and such, assuming there are no more issues that need bigger fixes.
And then the book is formatted, and then we get to read through it… again… to make sure it’s all there.
And, as with my previous novels, if there’s a publisher involved? That means going through it at least once more beside to take into account publisher notes.
In other words, by the end, the novel is a lot like laundry. It’s just another cycle. I’ve done this before. I know these characters, these plot beats, this turn of phrase. Yep.
Writing can be pretty grueling, actually. It really is work.
But it’s glorious work.
Yes, it can get repetitive to go through everything so many times, but it’s still creating worlds. It’s still conveying story from your head into the head of readers.
So sure, it can be like laundry.
But it can also be a whole lot cooler.