Whether you’re writing a 80,000 word novel or a 36 page picture book, knowing the stages of the writing process will make you better writer!
The five stages are:
I’m going to explore each of these stages in much more detail in future posts, but here’s a quick intro:
As the name implies, pre-writing is what you do before you write. A lot of people resist pre-writing, thinking it’s best to jump right in, but time spent defining your characters and outlining your story will pay big dividends later! (For help, download our story organizer).
Some versions of the process call this stage ‘Writing,’ but I think that’s a misnomer. It’s important that you don’t get too attached to anything that comes out in the first draft. At this stage, your story will go off the rails at times, taking lots of weird twists and turns. Remind yourself that anything can be changed later, and just keep writing!
This is where you massage your story into something that actually makes sense. Don’t be afraid to add, delete or reorder scenes. You may decide to add or remove whole characters and sub plots! This is where your story really takes shape.
Once you have your story pretty well set, it’s time to go back and clean up the writing itself. Go through your story line by line to correct grammar, punctuation and usage. If you have a couple of friends who’ve offered to help, so much the better. You might be too close to your story to find certain mistakes, but these will jump out at your readers!
Publishing takes many forms. You may decide to self-publish or submit your work to traditional publishers. Or, maybe you’ll publish on a website or blog, or submit your writing to the local newspaper. No matter how you publish, it’s exciting to see your work in the real world! So be brave and publish!
We talk about the writing process as being five stages, but note the way the arrows work in the diagram above. It’s likely you’ll loop through some of the steps multiple times. Don’t get discouraged! When you finally publish your work, you’ll be glad you took the time to make it as good as it can be.
As always, keep writing!