My Writing Process

ecrireA couple days ago, I told you a bit about my editing process, so now I guess I should tell you about my writing process.

This is a more difficult post to write because the process is more involved. I’m going to try to summarize it, though.

I tend to go through five steps, though I don’t think of them like this at the time.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Stewing
  3. Prepping
  4. Writing
  5. Editing

What happens in each step of the process?

Idea Generation
I keep a notebook with lists of ideas or summaries of something I want to do. Some of these “notebooks” are files in my computer, though I am a huge fan of keeping a notebook nearby as often as possible.

Stewing
When I find an idea that I want to work on, I walk around with it my head for a while. How long varies. For one story, I walked around with the main character telling me all about herself for two weeks before she finally told me her name. That story was started, but it hasn’t ever been finished. It will be in the not-too-distant future.

Prepping
Otherwise known as planning and research. This is where I figure out if it’s nonfiction or fiction, poetry or prose, long or short. And I do some preliminary research if it’s something I don’t know much about. I limit my research time, though, because I could easily spend too much time doing that and very little writing.

Writing
This step is pretty self-explanatory. I will do extra research from time to time if it’s needed. This step also generally takes the longest.

Editing
We already talked about this on Tuesday, but it’s worth including here, too. I view editing as part of the creative process as well. In my writing phase, I get the bones of the story/article/post down. Then in editing, I often add new content, so it’s a mashup of editing and writing. In general, it’s shaping.

Sometimes I will listen to music as I do this. Again, it’s something with little or no lyrics and often the same type of music I listen to while editing.

What does your process look like?

My Editing Process

redpenWhen you think about editing, I’m sure you imagine the proverbial red pen, bleeding all over the page. Right?

Although the red pen still, undoubtedly, has its place, things have changed quite a bit. I would say 99% of my editing is done on the computer.

I use a PC, so I use Microsoft Word. When I finish the draft of a manuscript, I let it sit for up to a week. (Honestly, usually it doesn’t sit that long, just a few days.) When I open the file to edit, I use the Track Changes feature.

For fiction and nonfiction, I start with the little things: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Then I move on to continuity. I look at things like flow and transitions. For fiction, I look at character development, dialog, and story progression. I look for plot holes. (Sometimes I don’t see them, so I use beta readers to help me find those.)

I go over it more than once before I send it to either an editor if I’m self-publishing or an agent/publisher if I want to go a different route. Typically, I go over it at least four rounds. Each round consists of multiple passes checking everything I mentioned above. On my current novel that I’m working on with The Wild Rose Press, I have about five passes for each round. I’m on the second round with them, which is really about the sixth round for me.

If you want to count each pass as its own editing round, then you could say RealmWalker: New Beginnings is undergoing its 30th editing pass. Is this too much?

No.

Each pass, each round is making the story better and the characters more developed and stronger. This is particularly important where BethAnne is concerned. She’s my primary point-of-view character. I don’t want her to come across as someone who needs to be saved by a hero.

When it’s time to get to work, I sit down at the computer, turn on some music, and open the file of the moment. It can’t be just any music, though. I get too caught up in the lyrics of contemporary music and traditional classical music doesn’t help. I listen to electronic music that specifically says it’s good for studying or concentrating. It has a good beat, good tempo, and very little or no lyrics.

It keeps me on track and I get into a good work flow with that kind of music playing in my headphones. (Earbuds. Whatever.)

Here’s my question for you: What does your editing process look like? Do you listen to any music or do you work in silence?

Am I Published?

Jen Nipps @ Open Mic
(c) 2017 Richard R. Barron Used with permission

If you’ve been on this blog any at all, you know the answer to this.

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Yes, and I have 10 books (including 2 novels and a book of poems), 3 short ebooks, and 3 short stories available under Jen Nipps (nonfiction) and Kat O’Reilly (fiction). I have another book in the editing process with a publisher and at least two more in that series. (One in progress, one in planning stages.)

I’ve had multiple articles and other short pieces published in WritingforDollars, Ada Magazine, the Ada News, Writers’ Journal, World of Myth Magazine, and 4Health Magazine. This doesn’t include various anthologies and other websites and blogs.

Some of the articles that were published in WritingforDollars have been republished in short ebooks through JEN Enterprises Presents and are: Bop Your Way Through Writer’s Block, 3 Keys to the Kingdom, and Why You Need a Writing Practice.

The short stories I currently have available are “They Call Me Malak,” “Sex, Politics, & Vampires,” and “This Is Your Karma.”

I’m keeping track of other things I want to write, so this is not all that you’ll see from me.

Introducing Book Spotlights

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

In a recent post (A Few Items of Interest), I mentioned that Amazon was merging CreateSpace and KDP. I didn’t know a time frame, but I knew it was happening soon.

It’s happened.

I talked about having re-release/launch dates and events as I converted my books from CreateSpace to KDP. Let’s just say that the process of moving them over went quite a bit smoother than I expected. They’re all moved.

I’m not going to do re-releases. I am, however, going to spotlight them here and do some promos on all of my books between now and Christmas.

You heard right.

Christmas.

It’s surprising to me that it’s already time to be thinking about Christmas.

The first book I’ll be spotlighting will be a Kat O’Reilly release. It will be up next Tuesday.

In the meantime, I have more writing to do, so I’ll see you back here with another post on Friday.

More News & List of Books

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

I have another update for you if you’re keeping up with the status of RealmWalker: New Beginnings.

I got an email from the editor requesting the full manuscript. I had the full finished when I sent her the first three chapters a couple weeks ago, so I sent that to her today. Here is part of the email reply from her:

from here I’m sending it on for what’s called a Preliminary Read. it’s like asking for a second set of eyes–all in preparation for a Request For Contract.
That doesn’t mean this is a done deal but it’s a step in the right direction.
This is a delight to read!!!
thank you thank you thank you. You have made my day.

Um….

No.

I’m pretty sure SHE made MY day.

OK. I might have made her day, too. I don’t know. I’m not there.

I will be sure to let you know when there is more news.

On a related subject, I had a friend say that judging by the title, this is a work of fiction and that they thought I write only nonfiction.

Yes, the RealmWalker series is fiction. I almost said I don’t write a lot of fiction, but that’s not exactly accurate. It would be more correct to say I don’t publish a lot of fiction. Most of what has been published is nonfiction.

All nonfiction and poetry is published under Jen Nipps.
All fiction is published under Kat O’Reilly.

Jen Nipps books:
Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone (currently out of print – if you see this on Amazon for an astronomical price, don’t get it. I’m working on re-releasing it.)
Windsong & Other Poems
Get ‘Twitter’pated: A Writer’s Guide to Twitter
8 Patterns to Crochet
80 Creativity Tips
Create Your Own DIY Planner
2018 Project Planner for Creatives
Journal Your Way to Creativity

Kat O’Reilly books:
Kiernan’s Curse
Navajo Rose

Kat O’Reilly short stories:
“Sex, Politics, & Vampires”
“They Call Me Malak”
“This Is Your Karma”

All of the short stories, 8 Patterns to Crochet, and Create Your Own DIY Planner are only available on Kindle. Everything else is available on Kindle and in print.

Wow. That’s the first time I’ve listed everything in one post, I think. And that really wasn’t the intent, but there you have it.

Creativity in the Heart of the Ozarks

If home is where the heart is, then mine is split between where I live and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I first started going to Eureka Springs in 2000, the first time I went to the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference. That was also the first time I ever heard about the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. I got to tour it the next year.

That is when I decided I would go there. I would stay at the Writers’ Colony one way or another. I applied for a paid residency. I didn’t get that, but I did get accepted for a general residency that I would pay for. After finding out how much that would be–and knowing it was affordable–I went.

I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve stayed, but it has been several over the years. It is where I finished Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone. It is where I started writing Kiernan’s Curse and Navajo Rose. I’ve worked on most of my books there. It is definitely a locus of creativity in the heart of the Ozarks.

I wasn’t able to go to Eureka Springs at all last year, not even for the conference. I hope to return this year. The arts, in general, are supported as a whole (it seems) in Eureka Springs. They have a very strong arts community and many artists call the town their home.

I can’t wait to go back!

Happy creating.

Get Busy Already!

Crayons scattered on white paperThe procrastination game has been strong today. I have indulged in it instead of fighting it and getting things done. On one hand, that’s not a problem unless it becomes a habit. On the other hand, it’s a consistent habit and I need to break it.

I did pretty good with things on the writing front this week. Here’s a round-up of my creative life this week.

  • Ultimate Blog Challenge: This is day 7. When I post this, I will have officially made it a full week.
  • RealmWalker: I have added a chapter and a half and 5,042 words this week.
  • #100DaysProject: I decided writing every day would be my project. That seems good since I’m wanting to finish RealmWalker this month and I have another novel (young adult along the lines of Nancy Drew) that needs to be finished, too. It started Tuesday so this is just day 5 and so far I’m 5 for 5.
  • Greeting cards: Yes, I make greeting cards. I got started when I went to a stamping group about six months ago. I love it! Initially, I didn’t want to get involved in anything else since I have so much going anyway, but I was given a LOT of stamps and ink pads, so I thought I’d look into it. The group gets together the first Thursday of the month at the scrapbooking store downtown. I love it.
  • Yarn stuff: At the beginning of the week, I was between projects. I like to have something going that I can do while I watch TV. I also like to have something at hand that I can do while I think about what’s next in what I’m writing. For TV-watching, it can be a complicated pattern. For thinking-while-writing, it has to be pretty mindless, otherwise, I’m thinking about the pattern and not the writing. Anyway, I started a new shawl yesterday. It was far too complicated. I’ll still finish it, but I think I’m going to have to crochet along with the videos provided. So I started another shawl this morning. This one is easy and works up pretty fast. It’s the perfect thinking-while-writing project.

That sums up my week. How was yours?

I’m going to post this and get to work on RealmWalker, even if it is late. (With that nap I took this afternoon/evening, I should be good for a while.)

See? I even used this blog post as a procrastination tool. Get busy already, Jen!

Happy creating.