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A crazy writer’s process

I get asked a lot about my “process” and I always kind of laugh and say I’d like to know what it is too! Or at least I’d like to HAVE a process. Because a process hints at some sort of organizational skills at least. Right?

But I was thinking earlier about how anal I actually am about the way I write my books. So I thought I’d give you guys a laugh and to answer all the people who ask about my PROCESS.

The only actual writing process I have is HOW I write and format my manuscripts. In no other aspect of my work am I remotely organized and yet my chapters and stuff have to be written a certain way or the world ends. Weird huh?

Here’s how it goes.

I write each chapter as an individual word file. But before that, I create a folder. Under a folder called Books. Original huh? So I have Books on my hard drive. When you click on books, you get folders and folders of stuff that says “KGI” or “Scottish Historicals” or “Berkley HEAT” Very specific, no? LOL. So then when you click on say the KGI folder, then you get the individual BOOKS so yeah yet another set of folders. Are you getting the idea I love folders?

So then I’ll have folders for The Darkest Hour. No Place to Run. Hidden Away. Whispers in the Dark. Echoes at Dawn. (And other assorted folders that have character names that I won’t mention because it would spoil some of the pairings haha)

Anyway, under each book folder, I have individual chapter files from 1 to however many there are in that book. And that’s the way I write them. I create a new file each time I start a new chapter and I save them as “Chapter 1” and “Chapter 2” and so on.

BUT and you knew I’d have to further complicate this, right?

So once I get like two chapters of a book written, I then create what I call a “Working Full” file. And this is where I reward myself every time I finish a chapter by copying and pasting it into the “Working Full” file because then I get to see the word count and page count go up each time I insert a new chapters. I like seeing those numbers go up lol.

When I get to the end of a book, you’d THINK I’d just edit the Working Full, right?

Nope. That working full is purely a reward system for me. I then go back and open each individual file starting with chapter one and I edit and when I am perfectly happy with the way that chapter reads, I then create a brand new file and this is the one that I actually name whatever the book title is. So right now I have “Echoes at Dawn” and when I finish editing chapter one, it gets pasted into that main document called Echoes at Dawn. And then I move on to chapter 2 file and I do the same.

Once I’ve compiled all of the individual chapter files into the main document with the book title as the file name, THEN I am ready to send that bad boy in to my editor. *g*

Now aren’t you sorry you ever asked about my process??

9 thoughts on “A crazy writer’s process”

  1. This makes me smile! I started writing a couple years ago and this is how I do my process! I thought I was a crazy and ignorant as a newly. This system works great though.

  2. Lacey Devlin says:

    Is it weird that I like it? Especially the reward part and the individual word documents for each chapter? I’m sure this would make it easier to edit.

    Thanks for sharing, Maya :-)

  3. Elyssa Papa says:

    Oh, I like this process a lot! Mine usually involves doing the whole document but saving it each time I work on it with a different date. So, right now, I have about 15 or so versions of a wip. But there’s something to be said about doing a document for each chapter. I might have to try that out and see if it works for me. :)

  4. Phylana says:

    I am not sorry we asked and grateful you answered. Your way sounds complicated but when you get the great books you come up with we know you’re doing something right.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Mystic Wynegarden says:

    I used to do that, but now I have it all in one file. It’s big and cumbersome, but I’m always thinking. “Oh. Did I mention this back when we first talked about it? I’d better go back and make sure those two mentions work together.” Or “Oh! To make this flow better, I need to rework that scene in Chapter Two.” So I have to be able to see the whole thing. And then there’s the issue that I write on three different computers.

    But I do like your organization. Maybe someday if I can actually write on just one computer, and I get better at this. Thanks. I love hearing how other people do it!! And it so works for you!!


  6. There was no way I could resist clicking this link on Twitter! Process. I’m always convinced that the more organized people are winning this war, but I just write and write. And save it in a different file when I feel paranoid that a computer crash will RUIN me. And then I think when I’m a little less busy, I’ll organize myself. HA!

  7. Leeann Barker says:

    Oh, I love it….you are anal!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your ‘process’

    I’m still working on my very first book. I have tons of ideas and have them all in, you guessed it, a file called “My Book”, honest, I named it months ago. Tee hee



  8. Sasha White says:

    It sounds like you’d really love Scrivener. :)

  9. Zeneida says:

    I am happy it works for you. I must say that it bourght a smile to my face. If it works for you then it is great.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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