Chasing Nonconformity

We shall begin with a simple question. Were you intrigued by the title of this post?

No: Curses! Perhaps I was being overly optimistic about my own brilliance.

Yes: Huzzah! You are a person of incredible wit and taste. I applaud you, sir or madam.

Enough shenanigans. “Chasing Nonconformity” is the working title of my current WIP (work in progress). It’s the sequel to Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It, and basically picks up where the first book leaves off. Like Imminent Danger, the sequel features space battles, sexy mercenaries, six-armed reptile warriors, and a generous helping of ridiculousness.

I wrote Chasing Nonconformity while I was living in South Korea, so I imagine that had some influence on the various characters and events of the story. I definitely borrowed heavily from the Korean language when making up names for planets, aliens, foodstuffs, and assorted sci-fi paraphernalia.

To give you some idea of where it’s at, I shall now share with you:

Michelle’s Official Writing Process

1. Write.

2. Wait six months. Review and revise.

3. Wait six months. Review and revise.

4. Give book to my mother.

5. Receive book from my mother, heavily scribbled upon with red pen and “constructive criticism” that makes my soul weep bitter, bitter tears.

6. Review and revise.

7. Give book to friends.

8. Receive book from friends, heavily scribbled upon with pen that starts in red, then shifts to blue/black/green/purple when they inevitably lose their red pens. Rejoice from all the supportive and optimistic feedback.

9. Review and revise.

10. Give book to my mother.

11. Receive book from my mother, heavily scribbled upon with red pen and “constructive criticism” that makes my soul weep bitter, bitter tears.

12. Review and revise.

I wanted to include the step of “Actually publish the book” on that list, but as it hasn’t happened yet, I felt including it on the list might be premature. With Imminent Danger, I’m somewhere around “Step 37: Review and Revise. Again. For the final time, this time, dammit!”

With Chasing Nonconformity, however, I’m waaaaaay back on Step 6. Exciting times are ahead, my friends! First I have to finish completely re-writing the middle section of the book, then head to the end and cut out a ton of plot. Hopefully I can use all this extraneous plot in future sequels, but I’m not going to beat myself up if that doesn’t happen.

So that’s basically what I’m working on right now. I’ve been kicking around the idea of attempting NaNoWriMo this year (because my attempt at Camp NaNo this summer went so well), so ideally I’ll get Step 6 of Chasing Nonconformity done before then.

I appear to be babbling. I’ll stop. What’s your writing process? Where are you at with your current WIP? Do you have any tips for cutting down my current writing process to something a little less insane?

Random video of the day: a chilling look at the “Dungeons & Dragons” phenomenon.

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Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “Chasing Nonconformity

  1. Candace Knoebel

    1. Write 2. Review and revise 3. Give to friend and MIL 4. Review and Revise 5. Off into the editors hands it goes!

    That was for my second WIP. My first was way longer, more like your steps. We’ll see if this shortened list works. Hoping that I’ve learned enough from my first mistakes to not need so many steps and years in between published works!

    As always, great post Michelle!

    • Thanks 🙂 I will try out your revised list and see how it goes. You’d think my writing ability would have improved after 7 years, right? Surely 18 rounds of edits won’t be necessary this time around? Lol.

  2. My process is very similar to yours, except I guess mine would start with Step 0. Write an Outline. Most of the time when I go back and read the outline after I’ve finished the story, they appear nothing alike. Yet somehow having the outline still helps me along the way 😛

    • My outlines are more a Word doc full of vague notes, like “She should get stabbed” or “His father is a jerk” or “Samurai wield katanas, not swords”. But they are definitely helpful when writing, even if they don’t actually tell me much about how my story is supposed to progress, lol.

  3. Michelle, I think you know enough about me by now to know this is true — I write, proofread, give to three people to proofread, proofread myself one more time – publish. Panic two months later when errors need to be fixed – republish. By now next book is waiting to be published and the cycle repeats. I’m an amateur at this. But I watched the video to the end! What a hoot! I’ve probably spent 25% of my life playing video games with my kid. We never did Dungeons and Dragons, but played Nintendo games with the title. 🙂

    • Nintendo! My favourite game growing up was Donkey Kong country. I especially got a kick out of the mine cart levels. D&D is fun, but it takes a long time and isn’t very visual, so it can be hard for people to get into.

      And I keep forgetting that self-publishing an ebook means you can just upload a new version! That does take some of the pressure off, doesn’t it? When you do that, do the copies that people have previously downloaded automatically update, or you do you have to download the book again?

      • It definitely takes the pressure off, but ideally it shouldn’t happen. 😉 Some outlets automatically update, but not all. Thankfully, I’m still early in all of this and I hadn’t sold too many of the booger books before I did some more editing and republished.

  4. Have you ever played on Google docs? I do beta reads for people, and yellow will mean “cut”, turquoise “repetitive word use”, pink “I like that” etc. By the time I’m done it’s a rainbow!

    I generally work on short stories, so it’s all revise revise revise, and I’m a grumpy bear while I edit. I don’t know how to cut your process down without cutting down the quality as well. The reality is, writing a book is a lot of work, which your 12-step process reflects (in fact, it may be appropriate that we associate 12-steps with addiction, because you don’t start writing if your love of words isn’t something akin to an addiction). I think books and stories need to rest (like dough). When I get good criticism, I often wince, and need a few days to pout about it. After that I’m ready to be mean and edit, because really, when you really get into revising/editing, it can feel like you’re hacking off limbs.

  5. Your writing schedule sounds like mine, except I’ve got to the steps:
    Send out to agents.
    Get rejection slip.
    Pretend I don’t care.
    Send out again …again …again.

    I hope when your time comes for this, one of your steps will be ‘Get and acceptance letter’. Good luck.

    • I forgot to add those steps! Good call. I did go through the agent/rejection stage a few times with Imminent Danger, but I think I’ll just self-publish from now on. Then, if a traditional publisher sees my book and likes it, they can approach me, not the other way around. Muahahahahaha.

  6. LOL You are like my favorite blogger right now. And I mean that in a very “this shouldn’t add any pressure to maintain my interest” kind of way. 😀 Anyway, my writing process goes somewhat like this…

    1. Outline basic story idea.
    2. Decide tentative beginning and ending.
    3. Write.
    4. Allow life to get in the way and forget about book for roughly 5-10 months (aka the length of time it takes to sleep train a newborn).
    5. Rediscover WIP when accidentally saving a mortgage payment confirmation in the wrong folder on my laptop.
    6. Allow inspiration to fuel my writing for a few good weeks.
    7. Allow inspiration to remind me of 4 or 5 other things I’ve neglected in this time period.
    8. Become increasingly distracted by these 4 or 5 other things.
    9. Regain focus and write more.
    10. Repeat steps 4-9 ad nauseam.

    So I’m stuck in that cycle at the moment. :-/

    • Haha thanks 🙂 I have a solution for your eternal circle of writing entrapment. Step 11: Go somewhere remote and inhospitable for vacation, where the only thing you have to occupy yourself is the internet. When you arrive, discover that the internet doesn’t work. Write, write, write, or risk insanity.

  7. How do you let your WIP sit for six months before you edit? I can’t let mine sit for more than a week. Patience is not my middle name.

    1. Write (editing as I review each day).
    2. Edit, edit, edit, edit.
    3. Send to alpha reader.
    4. Edit and revise after alpha’s feedback.
    5. Send to beta readers.
    6. Edit and revise from betas’ feedback.
    7. Send to editor.
    8. Edit and revise from editor’s feedback.
    9. Proofread (usually enlisting one or two others).
    10. Design cover and write back copy.
    10. Format for print and ebook.
    11. Publish.
    12. Immediately find a dozen typos to correct.

    • After I finish a WIP, I just need to take a little break before I start the torturous editing process. I guess the real reason for the 6 month gap is that I just don’t like editing, lol. And I love your 12th step! If only there were such a thing as a fool-proof copy-editor …

  8. atothewr

    The title did stop me. I like that title by the way – jumps off at you. I honestly can’t say I do nearly as much re-vising as you. I try to write and treat my book like it isn’t a first draft. I try to get it out as I go along. I do re-vise, but not as much as I should. Good luck with everything.

  9. Ha! You’re so optimistic, young Matthias. First I have to figure out what’s going on in book 2 … then we can worry about book 3.

  10. Oh Michelle! You are so enchanting! I am incredibly excited to read your books.

    Are you self-publishing?

    • I am indeed. I’m working with iUniverse, which is one of those big self-publishing companies where you pay them and they do all the hard work for you (e.g. formatting, editing, cover design, distribution, etc.etc.)

  11. I’d take red ink over listening to the person laugh hysterically in the next room. (been there-no it wasn’t a comedy story.) Props to your mom and friends! What do you do during the 6 months between edits?

    • Lol yes, ink over laughter every time. The 6 month breaks are generally spent writing new stories or editing other stories. It’s a wonder I ever have time to sleep :S

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