A few people have asked why they can’t read Book 1: The Lord of Stariel now if I’ve finished writing it. (As an aside, this enthusiasm is awesome. Thanks guys!) The answer is mostly because I’m writing a quartet and at the end of Book 4 it needs to look like I knew where I was heading all the way back in Book 1. This can be achieved in two ways:
(1) Knowing where I was heading all the way back in Book 1.
(2) By returning to Books 1, 2, and 3 after I’ve arrived at the end of Book 4 and changing things to make it look like I 100% planned it this way the whole time. Obviously the overarching plot isn’t still a big foggy mystery to me in any way. Nope. Definitely not. IGNORE THIS ENTIRE PARAGRAPH.
There’s another reason why finishing-a-draft ≠ book-being-immediately-available-to-read, and that’s the writing/publishing process. The writing process (for me) looks like this:
- Planning: Yes. Ahem. Moving on.
- The First Half of the Book: Shiny idea! I’m a genius! Look at all those words!
- The Mid-Point of the Book: Oh dear. Where was I going again?
- The End of Draft Zero: Whew, I finally figured out how it ends.
- The First Edit: Quick, revise the earlier bits of the book so they match the ending!
- First Draft Complete: The manuscript and I spend some time apart. A small number of trusted beta readers* read the book.
- Revision: I look at the book with fresh eyes + beta reader feedback and make giant lists of things to fix. I fix the things.
- Final Draft: OK, there’s generally a few drafts between Draft One and Final Draft, but let’s pretend in this hypothetical novel I fixed all the things in one round of revisions. Woo! Go me!
- And now onto the next step in the publishing process… (more on this in a different update)