Writing Processes

We are about to launch our fourth book in the Shepherd and Wolfe Mystery series. It’s called Shepherd’s Call and it’s coming out on May 25. I just spent too much time on social media promoting the book launch—not my skill set.

All the steps to writing a novel (at least for us)

For those of you who are curious the process of writing Shepherd’s Call and the previous three books in our series—Along Comes a Wolfe, Shepherd’s Watch, Wolfe in Shepherd’s Clothing it looks a little like this:

First draft: which in itself is a duke-it-out process with writing partners as you figure out what the story is actually going to be. It’s also a duke it out process if you write alone as that’s where the meat of the story begins and there is a lot (and I mean A LOT) of figuring.

Multiple reviews by us: at this stage we go through each other’s work and correct and edit as we go. We also adjust the story as it’s still quite pliable.

Editor’s notes: this good human, the editor, reads through the so called first finished draft—which is far from done. They make adjustments, syntax and mechanics errors, and straight up change some parts (with our approval) so that the story doesn’t have any issues.

Approval by us: a stage in editing where we review what the editor did and accept or decline their suggestions. Our editor is pretty swell and has worked with us for a long time. She has a very clear sense of what we are going for in our novels.

Proofreaders notes: these come after the editors corrections. This individual makes a time line and makes sure that everything works logistically. They also check for spacing, quotations and every single itty bitty tiny detail. I. Cannot. Imagine. It takes a special kind of brain to do this work. A type of brain that I do not have.

More fixes: and more fixes. And, then, just for fun…more fixes.

Dave reviews: everything the proofreader went through.

I review: everything Dave noted in the proofreaders comments. We negotiate back and forth several times and finally go back to our editor for changes. This includes several meetings and conversations.

One last time: we both review the proof one last time.

Print copy review: the printer sends us the copy proof. We look through that as well, making sure we haven’t missed anything.

Success is not easy. It does not happen overnight. And it’s not the romantic image of a writer, sitting at their desk, hitting the keys until they are done and then when the last page is completed they print it all off and put it in a manila envelope, take a swig of the last bit of their whiskey. Seal it with a kiss and sent it to a printer.

No. It’s none of that. However, all these parts with this particular book have really built a lot of hype in me. I’m very excited and every single step has me more eager to hold the book in my hands. I. Can’t. Wait.

My significant other says that if there is more than three steps to preparing a meal that’s too many steps. He likes simple steps in the kitchen. To his point there are many great meals of four ingredients or less. And, to my point, I like cooking so I don’t mind several steps to a delicious supper or a well written story.

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