I spent a good part of January going over edits for my soon to be published dystopian novel, Mixed In. This novel has been proof-read professionally, edited twice, and still I did find some mistakes. This is completely normal. Now, it moves forward to its publication date-March 7th.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at the timeline and process I’ve gone through thus far.
May 2015 My previous novel, Natural Attraction was published. I began marketing efforts–blog tours, radio interviews, readings. I also read indie fiction and the news to get an idea of what was being published and what was happening in the world. I wanted my next novel to be more contemporary with a simpler plot.
My short story writing class at Central College discussed world and national events with concern. My analytical chemistry class gave presentations about new devices. One was a laser bubble device & a cell-phone spectrometer developed by one of my former professors-Alex Scheeline. This helped set the stage for Mixed In. It would be a dystopia.It would be set in the very near future. The protagonist would be a chemist. She’d help develop a device. Since I study chemicals in plants, the novel would also be about plants. And agriculture. It would be set in the midwest.
Late fall 2015 I further formulated and collected ideas for my second novel. I asked Facebook friends and posted blog quizzes about how much sex they’d like to see in a novel, what types of science they were interested in, and what might make a dystopia. The verdict was to have it be slightly naughty. Huffington Post provided some inspiration about women becoming in touch with their inner passion.I decided to make the dystopia close to home–something based in the world of agriculture. This would be a combination of A Handmaid’s Tale, Idiocracy, and chemistry.
January 2016 I earnestly began Mixed In, set in the authoritarian business focused city-state of Cochtonville. Cochtonville was also the setting for my short story “Grave to Cradle.” Grave to Cradle was first published by Slink Chunk Press, then added to an anthology published by Shade Mountain Press. The working title for the novel was “No Regrets.”
March, 2015 Writing when I got up in the morning and before bed, I now had 50K words. For many authors, the abandonment point comes around 40K words. I was happy that I broke through. My goal was 73,000 words. (The final book is 76,00o words.)
October,2015 I finished the first draft. As you can imagine, it was filled with errors, inconsistencies, bad sentences, worse punctuation, and the worst proof-reading. I hated myself for even trying to write it. Yet I revised. Revision is the key to writing. For most of us, the first draft is terrible and embarrassing.
April 2016. I sent the revised novel to a professional editor for comments on plot, character, and continuity. I sent the first fifty pages to another reader for comment.(I pay people for this)
I got the comments back from the two hired editors. Both agreed that other than the first chapter, there were three boring chapters that needed to be cut or reworked before the book got interesting. I revised the manuscript, making Chapter Two more active and cutting Chapters Three and Four.
May 2016. I sent the manuscript out to be proof-read and copy edited. (I am an atrocious proof-reader. I hire people to help me.) During this time I looked over the City Owl editors’ wish lists. On Heather’s list was a dystopia that didn’t have to do with zombies or vampires. My dystopia had no vampires or zombies. But I wasn’t going to make the “open reading period” deadline because the manuscript was being proofed. I wrote Heather and asked her if I could submit after the deadline. She said yes. I sent the manuscript to her at the end of May. I began another novel to pass the time.
July 22, 2016 Acceptance!
July 31, 2016 Signed contract!
August 2016 First round of edits by City Owl editors.
Late September 2016 I discussed cover concepts with an editor and a cover artist.
We perfected the tag line and the pitch–thanks Facebook friends.
Later in the month, I began discussion with the editor and artist about the cover specifics. I wanted the cover to feature a splash of beer/dirty water.
November 2016 More edits.
December 2016 Cover approved. I love the splash.
January 2016 Second round of edits.
Received a copy of the sales sheet.
Official Cover reveal (January 24, 2017)
January 21-25. Final read.
As you can see, it has been a year since the first few pages were written. My head is spinning as the project moves ahead. It was meant to be a comic dystopia. Suddenly, I see parallels with current events…kind of like when you are pregnant and then it seems like pregnant women are everywhere.
Looking ahead: Pre-order date is March 5. Publication date March 7, 2017