This particular book is the first one where I wrote a sample of it, trying to get myself into it (summer of 2013) but the sample didn't end up into the book at all. Sometimes when I don't know where a story is going, I just start into a scene to get the flavor. I posted that scene in this blog, [When it works or doesn't], and it's the only place it saw the light of day. I had known then who my hero and heroine were and they stayed true to that vision, but that particular scene never worked in the story.
Jumping ahead to September 8, 2014, I saved what would be the opening chapter, from the year before, onto one of my many jump drives (After too many computer failures through the years, I save my books, as I write, on multiple little drives). The decks had been cleared, and I knew I was ready to start serious writing. Before that though, life had a plan. We headed to the beach for two nights for Farm Boss to go salmon fishing on the Siletz River.
My friend came by for my full day there. I took many wave photographs. She and I chatted about everything. She painted. I had my computer, but it was not a conducive time for me to write original work especially not that which was set in country very different from where I was watching ocean waves. I try to be where I am when I am and that's what I did for that time at the beach.
I was not worried about the book that had been on the backburner. I knew where it was heading and had a good feel for its characters. In late August, I had found the photo at Period Images, which I'd use on a cover. The images suited my hero and heroine perfectly.
All I had to do was start typing out the story and I think that likely began the first time I saved it to yet another jump drive-- September 14, 2014, one year after I had written that first chapter.
Now, if i was more organized, I'd know this stuff and not have to try to Monday morning quarterback it. I don't know that I could do what some do, who write down start and finish each day. I don't just sit and write. I write a scene, think about it, walk off, do something else, come back to the keyboard. I sometimes talk it over with my husband-- what do you think these people would do and here are my three scenarios. No way do I have a time card approach to writing.
I think though it'd be more professional (at least feel more) to have a record of how many actual hours went into a rough draft of 89,000+ words. I had it on the board 59 hours but that doesn't tell me much either since that included getting a snack, checking out an unhappy sheep, collecting the mail, etc. etc. A sheet of paper above me on the bulletin board would let me keep the records for at least on one book-- but now it'll have to be for the next one.
I tend to write about 5000 words in a day that is cracking right along, but often I take the next day to ruminate (throwing in a little cow lingo there) on what happened and how these characters might react to it. While I always know the end of a book and a general plot outline, the little things that happen along the way come out of the events themselves as they are laid down. I can't say, as some writers do, that the characters take over, but how they react and what they would do next come out of what has happened. I often know that only as I am writing it down-- when it becomes obvious.
Finally, when I finish, i.e. write The End, I know I'm not close to done. It's the bones of it. It's not even the whole rough draft, and it's sure not past the six edits it will get. This though happens to be one of the books that most pleased me to write-- The End.
Other projects, other writing, even the extensive research I needed had gotten in its way. I knew I would finish it at some point, but it was bugging me. I never don't finish a book, but this one sure had a long incubation period. Now the plot is laid out. My hero and heroine have their love story. What lies ahead is fleshing out a few places, some embellishments as I consider if what I wrote tells enough. Don't want too many words, but too few could leave a reader wondering.
After I have written the story, before editing happens, I like a few months to allow me to look at it fresh. During that time, I have other ideas working their way to the surface-- for one, a lot of reading other people's romances. There are all those books I've bought over the last year and finally might get a chance to enjoy.
About late December or January, this book will get its edits. I want it to be a polished book, as good as I can do today. It might never be published ;) but that's another question altogether!