Mechanics of a Book

Honey Pie! /

A bit ago we learned about my blogosphere friend Melyssa Williams, the author of Shadows Gray, and her writing process.


The story doesn’t end with those posts, however! You had more questions in the comments, and here are the answers, for your writing aspirations and real-life experience curiosity! (Thanks, Megan!)


How do you balance blogging and writing manuscripts and/or other paid writing work?

MW: It’s like a Jenga game…be precise and organized! At least that’s what I’m supposed to say. In reality, I grab tiny bits of time as they come (probably knocking others over in my haste). I have just a couple paid writing jobs and they do have deadlines, so they come first. Writing a novel that no one is making you write feels luxurious and self indulgent at times, so it’s as though I have to give myself permission to do it. Sometimes that’s hard for me: there is always laundry and meal planning and errands and child raising to do. I suppose I should get up earlier…but nah! Multi tasking is a necessary evil. As is writing in tiny, interrupted spurts.


How long did it take you to write your manuscript start to finish? Six months. Being a YA novel, it’s slightly smaller than most adult fiction. Some parts wrote themselves, some gave me fits.


How many times did you reformat? There were plenty of times I changed little things, but as far as a big reformat…none. I knew what I wanted; whether I achieved it or not is up to the readers!


Do you have any editors (even friends) who helped? Not able to afford an editor, all I had was friends! I put together a Writer’s Forum of Slave Labor and made them pledge to be honest. The first time my book came back, full of red marks, ideas, questions, mistakes, confusion, I had to gulp and take it all in. They were extremely good to me but it’s hard to see your “baby” under fire in any way.


What would you say was the BIGGEST factor that contributed to the completion of the manuscript? The accountability of everyone in my life, especially my husband. He doesn’t even like to read but he was enthralled with the story and so supportive. I knew if I started, I’d have to see it through, and all the gentle nudges from people helped immensely. Also – and this is going to sound weird –  I wasn’t entirely sure where the tale was going to end, so for my own curiosity, I had to see it through!


A big “thank you” to Melyssa for her honesty and willingness to answer questions! If you have any more, for her, for me, or for the Pentagon, leave a comment, I’ll do my best to track down the answer for you! If you haven’t downloaded Shadows Gray yet, what are you waiting for? It’s only the best new novel since sliced bread and is available for download on Nook, and Kindle. If you’ve read it, help Melyssa out by leaving a comment, particularly on Goodreads.


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