Monday, February 10, 2020

# Guest Posts

Knock, knock. Don’t be scared, it’s me, your writing process by Eva Mackenzie @evamackenzie #fiction #writing #zombies #scifi

Knock, knock. Don’t be scared, it’s me, your writing process.

By Eva Mackenzie

When I began writing, I did not understand what I was getting myself into. I just assumed that because I liked to tell stories it was enough. That passion would carry me through all the ups and downs of the process. Believe me, I’m not downplaying passion for writing. I’m saying you're going to need a lot to keep up with the rigors of storytelling. The process is long and arduous. It also takes skill, learned and practiced by telling the stories you have.

So, here is a list (not exhaustive) of what I do each time I have a new story.

First, it always begins with the seed of the story. The idea. This can be something as small as ‘why would this person do–this thing?’ Once the seed is planted, I use outlining to bring my story idea into a coherent line of ideas that will be my story plot and character arcs. You need both. I am a hard-core plotter and will write out detailed scene cards for each chapter. The more information the better. Sometimes what I think will happen doesn’t, but the last thing I want to be is a ship at sea with a million different ways to travel, but no clear direction. This happened with my first novel and it took over ten years to finish.

Once I have a working outline, I write the first draft. This is the proverbial sand pile that will later be built into a beautiful castle. But if I don’t outline, I might miss something that will make my story great, so I am all about throwing as much sand (ideas) into the box before I build it up. I cannot edit as I write for this very reason. I would be perpetually improving something that may get thrown out later.

Once I have the story, I like to put it away for a few days/weeks if my schedule allows it. Ideally a month, but with publication deadlines and having all the balls in the air at one time, this is not always possible.

Next I read the story. I try not to make any changes at this stage, of course I always break this rule. Especially because I am reading the first draft on my computer, making small changes is so easy to do. One day I will stop this, but not now.

After my read through, I do rewrites. This is big picture things that brings my story into the second draft phase.
If I use a developmental editor, it will be after the second draft is complete. I will send it off and get a lovely letter back, stating what worked and what didn’t. This is very helpful for me as I write plot driven novels with a treasure map template. So, I need to provide the map to the readers, at the same time not giving everything away. You don’t want your readers scratching their heads at the end saying that made no sense. Yikes.

Then, once I have all my rewrites done in accordance with my editors’ recommendations, I will reread it. I lost track of how many times that’s been, but there are a few more to go. Yes, you will read your own novel a lot!

Then I will polish with line/copy edits. Oh boy, it’s all starting to come together and I am not hunched over my books so no one can accidently reads it…
This is what I label as the third draft. This is my work as pretty as I can get it myself and it takes combing over a ton to get to this point.

Next, I reread, then off to my copy editor.

Once I get the angry red track-changes document, back, I get very excited. I will accept or reject these suggestions and again, reread. Once I am entirely happy with what I have, I send for my proofreads.

I get the proofs back and I reread it. Then I send to my formatter who sends me back a copy, and I reread for the last time… Wow.

This process can be tedious and sometimes I wanted to skim the rereads, but to get your book the best it might be, put the work in.

Thank you for hosting me and happy writing everyone. 

Eva Mackenzie is an author who enjoys twisty, emotionally engrossing tales. Her debut novel has been a work in progress for over a decade. Under the urging of a loved one, it’s finally finished.
She is a wife and mother living on the east coast. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family, training for her next marathon or reading stacks of suspense novels. Some of her favorite authors are Minka Kent, Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Jackson.
Her latest book is BURIED IN MY PAST.


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She’s desperate to stop the panic attacks. But the truth won’t set her free…

Jamie Kendal sees life through the bottom of a bottle. After surviving assault and betrayal, she is forced back to her hometown to care for her mother. Not long after her return, she’s plagued by terrifying slivers of memories from the night her twin brother disappeared forever…

Unearthing new evidence, she’s shocked to learn she’d been found wandering in the woods that same night—covered in blood. More than one person from her past hid the haunting truth that’s bubbling to the surface. The deeper she digs into the horrors from her past, the more she fears almost anyone could be a killer, including Jamie herself.

Can Jamie expose what happened that night, or will she join her missing brother?

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