Before I start, I have in my head the following:
- A beginning.
- An end (of both the book and the trilogy - although I have been known to change the latter).
- A few key scenes in between beginning and end for the book I am writing.
- The main characters.
- The place(s) - the world, the magic. This bit is quite detailed in how it works.
- The driving force(s) of the plot - i.e., why the characters are doing what they are doing.
- What I don't have is a detailed outline or the sub-plots. I am a very disorganised writer.
- I may have a non-detailed synopsis but I don't stick to it all that strictly.
- I have no idea how many chapters there will be or how long they will be.
- I write about one third, then go back and reread it and maybe change some stuff.
- I write another third and then go back and read from the beginning again. And maybe change some stuff. About now I have a good idea of how long the book will be.
- Write the last third.
- Time to do the big stuff - reorganise the plot where it doesn't work. Change chapters around if necessary. Redefine characters if they don't work for me. Correct the plot holes I see.
- Get down to the small stuff, sentence by sentence.
- Send to beta readers.
- Work on the weaknesses as suggested by beta readers.
- Polish, polish, polish.
I am hoping that does not happen this time. At the moment, more than 40% through the second draft, I have not got that sinking feeling that there is something "off". So far, it feels good. Fingers crossed it stays that way as I read on...
People ask me how many revisions I do - honestly, I dunno. Some parts that don't work well have too many rewrites to count. Other scenes hardly change at all from the moment I wrote them.
One thing I can tell you - for me, writing is not easy. Nor quick. And everybody is different.