I’ve been working on my third novel this summer, and have been having so much fun doing the research and writing of this one. It’s different from the previous two, but it’s an idea that’s been in my head for several years. Finally, it is all coming together.
- Currently, I have 42,000+ words written–This novel will probably top out at around 55,000 words to 60,000 words and will be about the same length as Beneath the Mimosa Tree (novel #1).
- People have asked me how I write, what my writing process is, and if I outline my novel. I do not make outlines (nor am I a list maker, much to my husband’s dismay). While I am a little Type A where my professional life is concerned as a professor, as a creative writer, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I let the characters and plot grow organically, and I always keep in the back of my mind this thought: “What would I want as a reader?” I often do a sketch of each character, including what they like, how they look, what their favorite things are, what they collect, etc. I usually write down anything that helps mold the characters so I know them intimately.
- Additionally, I do a lot of editing as I go along. I write a chapter, and then the next morning, I go back through it and edit it. By editing each chapter as I go, I catch mistakes, make any vocabulary changes or awkward sentence changes necessary. When the novel is completely finished, I go through it several times, first as a reader, and then as an editor (many times), and then finally, again, as a reader. This is the hardest part of the job, but setting aside time for it is key.
- I have decided to once again self-publish my novel. As a control freak of my projects, I enjoy the entire process, from writing the draft and editing it to designing the cover and pages, as well as marketing it. All of these are challenges, but I relish the opportunity to show my students how things can be done if you tackle them one at a time.
- I have already secured my ISBN number, and the front cover is designed. I am very, very excited to show this to you when it all comes together. The back cover design is in progress, but takes much less time than the cover.
- The novel is set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in Oxford, one of my favorite towns. The opportunity to showcase the loveliness of the Eastern Shore and its people is at the heart of my novel.
- I am hoping to launch the new novel in September.
- Fingers crossed. (Really…one never knows).
- My other book, which I already have in progress, is a collection of short stories and poetry. I’m still working on two short stories for the publication, so I hope to finally set that into motion by the end of the year.
- I love to write and tell stories. To those of you who think you might have a story in your head that you would like to tell, I suggest you do it. There is nothing more rewarding than writing what you love, telling stories you want to tell, and hopefully, having readers enjoy them. Keep at it, and don’t give up. As a mom with two busy (very busy) kids, a husband with a crazy work and travel schedule, and my own demanding professional life, I am proof that when you set your mind to something, you can do it. I know you can.
- Take baby steps the first time you write something. I think the reason why projects stay incomplete is because it feels daunting. Think of it as a tennis match: if you think too far ahead, you may lose the game, and then the match. Instead, think one point at a time: just win the next point. That’s the same approach to writing a novel. Just write one chapter. Then the next. And soon, you will see, you just might starting racking up games and actually finish (and win) the match.xx |Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.