Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

My Favorite Parts of the Novel Writing Process


The more I write, the more I learn about myself and my writing habits. I’m currently in three different stages of three projects.

My first YA novel is getting ready for release. All major edits and revisions are done. Formatting is done. I need to do one more round of proofreading once I have a proof copy in hand.

I sent The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach (the third in the Zelda series) to the editor a few days ago. In a few weeks, I’ll get the edits back, revise, and work on polishing the manuscript for release.

I am also about 20,000 words into a first draft of a brand new YA fantasy novel.

Through this process, I’ve learned my favorite parts of the novel-writing process. I love the early stages of a novel. I spend time creating a broad outline of my novels before I start writing. Even though writing the words for the first draft are difficult, I love experiencing the story take off in unexpected directions. My first draft is about getting the story down, getting the words on to the page.  Immediately after I finish the first draft, I go back and put in more details into the story about the characters, the setting, etc, especially in the early chapters.

I set the manuscript away for roughly a month after the first draft and then return to it for the major revision stage.  These middle revision stages are the toughest. After I complete my own edits and revisions, I send the novel to beta readers and an editors. I wait for comments and the revisions with questions looming in my head– Will they like the story? Did I miss a big plot hole? Did they see that part coming? It’s a bit nerve-wracking for me.

If I survive the middle round of edits and revisions, I don’t mind the final stages of polishing and formatting. I enjoy the mindless nature of getting words formatted for ebook and paperback form after the tough revision stage. Of course, receiving the first paperback proof copy is a joy (even when I notice a typo or error).

What are your favorite parts of the writing process?


4 thoughts on “My Favorite Parts of the Novel Writing Process

  1. I do love the planning process, gathering up all the ideas and getting inspiration and jotting down characters. I love doing the prep work 😀

    • The prep work is fun. For my current project, I’m drawing a few maps and pictures along with the outline. It’s a blast even if my art skills are terrible. If only I could write a first draft that didn’t need revisions. Hah!

  2. The first draft, for sure. I write from ideas only (no outlines), and I love watching it all form on the page and seeing the threads weave themselves into a tapestry. Then there’s the second draft. which I hate, because the discovery portion is over, and it’s like ironing a wrinkly linen shirt that sat in the bottom of the laundry pile for three weeks.

    During subsequent drafts, I start to despise the material. When I’m finally done (as far as can take it, at least, after about 15-20 passes), I decide it’s the worst thing ever and contemplate burning the whole project, laptop included. My masochistic fantasy reemerges of taking everything I’ve ever written, and both my laptops, to the top of a cliff and tossing it all to the rocks below, where it shatters into ten-thousand unrecognizable, irreparable bits.

    So, yeah, I’d say the first draft is the part I like. 😉

    • I feel that way about the novel that’s about to be released. I’m trying to be excited about it, but after two years of on and off work I’m on it, I’m just ready to be done with it!

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