Ready for a sneak peek into my process? Fair warning, there might be spoilers!
An inside look like this doesn’t happen very often, because I am always rotating my work to keep my brain active! But lately, I’ve been in editing overdrive. I had a backlog of books just waiting to see the world, so I decided to send them on their way while I work on some longer-term things.
So, without further ado… here is my messy book writing process!
There is an ongoing debate in my head over which is better—planning or pantsing. For most of my books, I only plan ahead one chapter at a time, but for some, I try to make a detailed outline. My collaborations are always outlined since it is easier to write with another person when there is a plan. I also write outlines for my epic fantasy series, The History of Goranin. If I didn’t, those books would be twice as long as they already are!
Whether I outline or not, I do tend to take copious notes about ideas, worlds, characters, and anything else that pops into my head when I am in the shower—where all my brilliant ideas hit me.
Here’s a look at some notes from Autumn Awakens, the fourth book in The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses:
Don’t worry… that jumble of nonsense in horrific handwriting does actually make sense to me… and it’s one of the more organized pages!
When I do outline, it looks something like this (which… is probably all wrong but it works for me):
(Contains small spoilers for Eiagan’s Winter)
After some brief planning or notetaking, I just dive right in. I usually write every day, sometimes entire chapters, other times just a few paragraphs. It really depends on the book. Something light-hearted and fun is much easier than a world-building fantasy with adult characters in death-defying situations.
As I write, I have a team of alpha readers that help me figure out what works and what I should scrap. We share via Google Docs, where we can share comments. After that, there are several rounds of rewrites, editing, and cover design.
Here’s a small outtake from The Telegram that will release this summer:
Sometimes I buy covers, but most often, I design them myself. That was a huge learning curve, but it is also a lot of fun. For that, I use Photoshop. Then it’s out for a beta read before releasing to the world!
Here is a layout of the cover for Mattie Bender is a Cereal Killer that will release June 15:
That was a brief look into the process, but if anyone is interested in a more detailed breakdown, I might be willing to do a video series as I write the next (and last) Grimm book! Let me know in the comments if that is something you’d like to see!