The assembly line keeps rolling. This week I continue to work on Book 37 while Book 36 is with the editor. I’m sometimes asked what’s my favorite part of the process of writing these cozy mysteries. That’s easy—every part of it—well, maybe except for the occasional glitch that occurs with Amazon when we go into production. Those are generally smoothed out fairly easily—but they make me crazy.
I have to admit, when I’m between stories, I sometimes feel a slight sense of panic. What will I write about next? How can I keep my stories fresh? What will keep readers reading? Is my well of ideas empty? You should see the wide smile on my face when I sit down at the computer and a story begins to emerge.
I love formulating the story outline—witnessing the creative process in action as new characters come to life and interesting plots take shape. I feel like a sculptor might or a builder. Once the story is in place, I go through the pages again more carefully, this time, removing some of the “place holder” and creating a more cohesive and, hopefully, captivating storyline.
Then I edit, edit, and edit some more—going through the manuscript over and over tying loose ends, perfecting concepts, strengthening characters, perhaps adding more kitty-cat action, maybe taming a scene that got out of hand or expanding on one. I also conduct a lot of research to make sure the facts are correct. And I double, triple, quadruple check timelines. This is the most intense of the processes and one of the most important. It’s not as creative as some of the beginning stages, but I love the process, so that’s a plus.
When this stage is completed to my satisfaction, I turn the manuscript over to beta readers—sometimes one, sometimes more. I listen to their comments and maybe readjust a few things. A little time has passed by now since I’ve worked on this story, so I do another edit or three or four before turning the manuscript over to the my editor.
What do I do when I get it back from her? You guessed it—more editing and proofing. Then I give it to the print book formatting person. He prints it out for me in book format and I go through it again word for word at least once. We make any changes, and I check each and everyone to make sure they were made correctly. I wasn’t taking this step in my earlier books and have been going back and correcting a few things after the fact.
When I’m satisfied, we go to print and it’s at this point that I send the finished manuscript to the formatter for the Kindle version. That’s why you’ve had to wait a few weeks after the print version is ready to read the Klepto Cat Mysteries on your e-reader.
Are you eager for some good summer reading material? I’ve got your back. Watch for Book 36 to debut probably sometime in July.