Writing Redux

I’d like to go off on a slight tangent with this post. I’ve been working madly on book 2 of Legion, and I am pausing to think about how the process has evolved for me.

When I started writing Outland, end of May 2014, I basically just fired up WORD and started typing. But I’m realistic enough to know that there’s craft involved, so I also started buying books, reading articles, and joining forums.

I ended up on absolutewrite.com, which is a huge site traffic-wise. It has a lot of good information, although it’s relatively hard to find. Most of it is in threads with hundreds of entries, and the only way to glean the information you want is to start at post 1…

I also initially joined critiquecircle.com, and learned a lot from getting my work publicly flayed. However, I found the need to post submissions several weeks in advance to be a pain, and I eventually moved to scribophile. For the record, the paid memberhip is worth getting.

On scrib, I joined the Uber critting group. The advantage of this is that you end up in a sub-group of 4-6 people, and you crit each other’s work week after week. So you get consistent crits from the same people. And I find the level of skill to be very high amongst the members.

I also joined the Beta Readers group. Same idea– you are organized into a small group of 4-6 people, and you swap manuscripts on a schedule. Again, consistent betas and good quality results.

With all this input, my writing has been improving constantly. I’ve been able to identify my weak spots and specifically target them in my work. Multiple edit passes, using what I learn in each Uber crit, combined with feedback from beta readers, allow me to make significant strides in a relatively short time. I honestly can’t see how writers managed to get anywhere before the interwebz.

As of this writing, book 1 is being produced at Audible, book 2 is going through final edits, and book 3 is about a third written. The main plot points are in place in book 3, just needing fleshing out. The question of a print publisher for Legion is still up in the air. If we don’t get a bite by September, we’ll just put the e-book up under the agent’s imprint and hope for better traction down the road.

My agent has asked me for a list of ideas for future books, and we’ll be discussing that at some point. My Ideas List has 113 entries at the moment, so I had to trim it down to a dozen or so of the ideas that I like best. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, the journey continues, and I’m still nervous.


1 pings

    • Mike on May 1, 2019 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply

    Hey Dennis,

    I really enjoyed this post! It’s a rare thing to get such a down-and-dirty view of The Process from a pro like yourself. I’ve read through your blog and watched a couple of interviews on YouTube, but I haven’t seen or heard much more on this topic. Have you done any interviews or written anything outside of this site where you discuss your process, lessons learned, etc in greater depth? I’d love to read more!

    Keep up the good work.


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