Another milestone! off to beta readers

Dragon Shadows is off to the Beta Readers! Also, to my editor. Yipeee! I’m far ahead of my deadlines so I want to keep it that way, as my goal is to publish the books very close, back to back so readers won’t have to wait too long for a sequel.

I’ve already started working on the sequel, Dragon Secrets (tentative title), and hope to have that in final rough draft by the end of the year. There is a more tentative, standalone romance-adventure book planned in the Dragons of Magick world that deals with the Duke’s adventures but more on that later.

After finishing Dragon Shadows, I’ve realized that I write in a certain sequence:

Plotting – This is pre planning session on laying out the plot for the story. I found Rachel Aaron’s book 2K to 10K: Writing faster, Writing better… to be helpful for this. I am essential a pantser writer who realizes she needs more structure so I’m still working on this area of my writing.

  • 3 bullet targets for each chapter
  • Determining POV (point of view) of each chapter
  • Making a list of “lose ends” that needs to be tied up
  • Research
  • Book Cover needs to be planned for.

Bone Draft – the rough skeleton of the story needs at least 1,500 words per chapter from start to finish. This process takes about a month and usually does take a lot of time so the foundation is secure.

  • Lots of mistakes and mis-starts here while I pound out the plot.
  • It’s easy to get trapped at this stage with re-writing the same areas of your book in an effort to “perfect”  the early chapters and instead of pushing forward.
  • My partner and I have many discussions at this point about plot and what points I want to hit.
  • A lot of character development happens at this stage. Scenes pop into my head.

Flesh Draft – the filling in to increase word count per chapter (2,500 – 3,500), to identify missing scenes that need to be written or scenes that would make the story more enjoyable. Also, identifying chapters that drag and need to be re-written. This process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month.

  • This is where it’s easier to see where the entire plot needs help. What chapters don’t work or if there is inconsistencies in the characters.
  • I ask for more creative input from my reading partner on what works, what doesn’t. We bounce between a Flesh and a Skin draft while things get hammered out more.

Skin Draft – the start of more intensive editing and self trimming of story. Word count per chapter is around 2,500-4,000 depending on what the plot calls for as I noticed high action chapters usually have shorter word counts.

  • A lot of time is spent reading through the story more slowly, actual word count doesn’t increase that much.
  • Editing by myself and reading partner begins.
  • Scenes may be added, others deleted.

Aloud Proofing – we read aloud each chapter, checking for continuity and errors. This takes about four days.

Beta Readers – off to the Beta Readers for read through. I’m thinking this will take 2-4 weeks though I would like this to be less then 2 weeks myself.

Editor & Proofreading – off to the editor. A month at least.

Final Draft – changes, additions, corrections after input. I am thinking a week, no more then two.

Publish – prepare formats, etc.. for publishing.

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