Those who know me or attend my writing workshops know that I'm a huge fan of planning. Whether it's a novel, a career, a project, I love to take the time and plan out the activities in advance.
So as I await feedback from my beta readers on the Ross 128 ms, I'm planning for more activities: the book promotion tour, marketing materials, workshops, writing a non-fiction how-to book, and developing story ideas for my next novel. On top of this, there's the ongoing relationship with Tellwell, my chosen publishing vehicle for Ross 128, and the learning curve involved in that.
Planning for a successful writing career comes down to planning an ongoing series of successful activities. It's about putting in the time, battling through Seth Godin's "dip", or paying your dues if you're old school. If you're contemplating a career in writing because you think writers are all living like Margaret Atwood or Stephen King, remember they didn't get there overnight. It requires a lot of planning and action, one step at a time, to get there.
So the story of Ross 128 that began as an idea in September 2017 has now gone to a small group of beta readers for their review. This is the final step before sending the manuscript to my publisher's editor. The point of beta reading is to identify any substantial problems with the text that I cannot see... things like whether the sequencing of events makes sense, the plot holds together, labels and names are consistent. At the end of February when I get my answered questions back, I'll make whatever changes need to be made and then I'll fire the story off.
Waiting is hard. I'm excited and nervous about this novel.
The idea for alien life coming out of the Ross 128 dwarf star system came from a selection of various "Supposes" during the story generating sessions of my Novel Writing Course held at Carleton University starting in September, 2017. Earlier that summer, some unknown signals were heard at the Large Array in Arecibo and initially, the researchers thought they could be alien. This was later disproved, but the idea stuck with me: what if we did hear intelligent life among the stars? What would we do?
Thus, the idea for an alien distress call was born and it evolved from there, centering on the debate between whether we would initiate contact the aliens or hide from them.
I planned the novel out in September and began writing it in October. By the end of December, I completed the first draft of 80,000 words. I am now going through the first revision, cleaning up the following: grammar and spelling, use of pronouns (way too many), eliminating the use of the same words over and over again in the same paragraphs, changing sentence length to keep the text interesting, and basically tweaking other structural matters. Once this is done, I'll do another revision on it where I'll focus on building more texture around it where needed. At this point, I'll ask beta readers to review it, revise again if necessary, and then submit to my editor for the final revision.
It's a lengthy process, but one that is completely necessary in order to have a high quality book in the market.
In this blog, I'll be tracking my progress and outlining some of the emotions, obstacles and wins I encounter along the way so that you, as a writer, can understand my experience and use whatever you can from it to help you in your writing and publishing journey.