Write. Revise. Repeat.

Some people have asked about my writing process. I’ll give you a high level overview of the creation of Project Dandelion: Life & Death, from inception (the word, not the movie.)

I started thinking about the “why” of Project Dandelion about ten years ago; it was not called Project Dandelion but I’ll use that name throughout this post, just for reference. At that time, it was more of a futurist murder mystery but nothing (and I mean zero words) was written. It was a concept of the nature of life and death and the conflict between two people with far different conceptions of the meaning of life and death.

Last year, my daughter and I were driving to Chicago. She wants to write professionally and I said “you can steal my idea. I’m never going to do anything with it.” and shared the concept of Project Dandelion. She said “you should put those two species on other planets” and I thought “holy shit! That’s it!” and started writing.

The first draft was pure shit and took five months.

first-draft

I edited the draft (grammar and getting rid of that dreadful passive voice) in another four weeks. Now I had refined shit.

Then I created a matrix of all of the timeline and character events throughout all of the chapters. This revealed several pacing problems and a real issue with chapter length. I combined several chapters and reordered about 20% of the rest.

Then another edit (two weeks)

Then I found some beta readers. They came from two of my authors groups. They read the book over a month and provided some feedback, some very helpful. Based on that feedback, I am currently doing a major rewrite. I’ve eliminated a major story thread and completely reordered the first half of the book. This reorder exposed more pacing problems and required several additional chapters.

I’m about 50% of the way through this edit. The last feedback that I received (yesterday) said “this is a very strong piece”.

After completing the rewrite, I have lined up three more (different) beta readers and I suspect there will be one more edit.

Look for Project Dandelion: Life & Death in 2016.

Write Something That Matters.
D.G.Rettig

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7 thoughts on “Write. Revise. Repeat.

  1. How do you keep going? Do you ever get fed-up with it? Was it hard to eliminate a story thread or do you see yourself using it later? Sorry for all the questions, I’m just interested in what it takes to write a good novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi CR, I’ve read your question three times over the last day, in part because I didn’t want to give you a flippant answer, and in part, because I didn’t have an answer. I keep writing because of why I write (refer to my post on the same topic https://dandelionscifi.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/why-i-write/). If I didn’t think my story was important, I guess I’d quit a long time ago.

      Fed up? Read yesterday’s post.

      Hard to eliminate a story thread? Like surgery with a spork.

      Like

  2. Interesting. I’m a novice to writing, but I was passionate about an idea I had in the summer of 2014. Started writing my first book and it took about 3 months. Wrote two more books in the next 9 months. In the summer of 2015 I lost my job. Over the next 6 months I did absolutely nothing with my time but write, edit, and…uh, let’s see…edit those 3 books as a trilogy. I could bang out the stories, but editing was murder. I’m an indie author so I do everything myself, but I could definitely see the advantage of having a big publisher behind you. Just crank out the shit and let them deal with the mess. 🙂 I kid! We all have to clean up our messes. I know that. But it’s fun to dream.

    Like

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