Here’s a little bit about the work that went into my debut novel.
I started Mage Slave as a Nanowrimo all the way back in 2010. Nanowrimo was huge for helping me learn to quiet my inner editor, but I didn’t “win.” I got to 33K at a rapid clip, but when I realized I was about 33% of the way through my novel, and that it would take me until likely January to really finish, I lost momentum. I did continue to push on though with some good habits I’d built up during Nano and finished in February.
Then began the long process of editing. And editing. And editing some more. There were large chunks that were completely boring and had to be excised or enlived. Overall, I’m not really sure why editing and revisions took so darn long, except that it was so mentally hard and not the fun part of writing. I also had some big life changes that meant a break for about two years, and another large side project that took center stage for a long time.
But writing would not quit me, so I kept going.
I used index cards for an outline and spread them out on a big piece of white drawing paper to help me see the story as a whole. It also helped me feel a sense of progression. I wrote in Word, but did a lot of my editing in Scrivener.