It’s been a while, but I just finished my first draft of book three in the Nyxia Triad and I thought it’d be cool to shed some light on the time and energy that went into all three books. I think sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly how many hours, and how much effort goes into such an undertaking. And it totally differs depending on the author and that particular trilogy, but here is how things shook out for me:
Book one: Nyxia
First Draft: Wrote it in exactly two months. 90,000 words
Revisions: One to polish the initial draft for submission. One with my agent’s advice. One big editorial revision with my editor. A second edit with a particular editorial focus. An edit to incorporate feedback from sensitivity readers. First pass pages. Second pass pages. Nervous, debut author pass pages. That’s 8 revisions. The longest of those revisions (the big editorial one) took me 14 days. The shortest (second pass pages) took a day. I’d guess that I logged about 2 months of writing time on these revisions.
Percentage of Changed Material: My very non-scientific guess is that I changed about 30% of this novel. There was a lot of shuffling. Good and solid pieces that I simply had to fit in other sections. But at least 1/3 of the novel changed (about 30,000 words)
Most Difficult Moment/Experience: Learning how to yield to an editor. I was very headstrong at the start of this series, and I’d definitely say that I reacted stubbornly to a handful of very necessary edits. It all turned out well, but that was my hardest lesson.
Book Two: Nyxia Unleashed
First Draft: Wrote this one in three months. 90,000 words.
Revisions: Standard polish revision on my own. One to incorporate feedback from beta and sensitivity readers. Huge editorial revision. My editor really disliked the central conflict in the story. Rewrote almost the entire story. Editorial revision with minor notes. First pass pages. Second pass pages. That’s 7 total revisions for the book. All in all, I’d guess that I spent about 4 months on the edits. It was basically like rewriting the entire story after all.
Percentage of Changed Material: I’m not kidding when I say my editor really didn’t think the first draft worked. I reworked about 90% of the novel. I’d say that I produced 80,000 new words for the revised manuscript I sent her eventually. We both loved that version, so it worked out, but that didn’t make the first swing-and-a-miss any easier.
Most Difficult Moment/Experience: Learning not to take editorial feedback personally. My editor really leveled me with that first response. And she wasn’t wrong. The story didn’t work, at least not as well as I thought it did. Better was out there for me. We got to redirect the story and now the final product is so much better. There was still about a three day stretch where I questioned my writing ability.
Book Three: Nyxia ______________
First Draft: Wrote this over 6 months, but I also began writing it in the same month that I had my first child. This January I’ve written about 42,000 of the 90,000 words.
Revisions: Standard Polish. ???
Percentage of Changed Material: Please be less than book two.
Most Difficult Moment/Experience: So far? I’d say the weight and burden of finishing. This is not the end of a book. It’s the end of a story. The end of every character arc. I usually have no problem leaping into a story, but I’ll admit that I hesitated on this one. The task felt quite insurmountable. We’ll see if this holds up as my most difficult moment!
I hope that sheds some light on the process for other writers, and for those interested in how publishing works. There is never any promise or idea that what we do is easy. Rather, I find that it’s challenging and taxing work. Like projects in any other professions, there are different problems that crop up, and certainly different aspects that change from project to project. I’m pretty thrilled to step back and say, “I finished this.”
And every single one of you can say, “Well… according to this blog post… you’re not quite done.” Slag that. Thanks for reading!