(This is a very rough pencil sketch of a chapter opener. I'm very big on visual manifestation! While I'm writing, I always draw little pictures that go with the story. It's not perfectly polished because I need to spend my time writing, not drawing. Overall, the exercise keeps me focused and excited to finish!)
It only took four months, maybe even longer, but tonight I sent over the first two chapters of my (hopefully) third novel, along with a 20K word outline.
It wasn't a matter of procrastinating, it was more about finding the right story to tell. And I've learned that if I put emphasis on a healthy outline, it makes the writing process go much faster. Granted, the final outcome will likely vary from the outline, but it feels good to have the major plot points worked out. An outline is like a pencil sketch.
People always ask me if the process is easier after writing two other novels. Yes and no. It's easier because I know what NOT to do. The hard part is coming up with new characters, new names, new jobs, new drama, etc. They have to be different from my previous characters. You have no idea how many awesome story arcs I drafted for this new book, only to step away and think - "Oh, that's Chloe." or "Eeee, that's Scarlet!" I had to go back in and recraft!
What happens now is that my agent will read all of it and then let me know of revisions, and then it goes to my editor. It's up to her to decide if she wants to buy it or if she will send me back to the drawing (sketch) board. It's the whole "hurry up and wait" game, but I'm used to it and mentally prepared. Besides, I have plenty of other work to keep my mind occupied.
I'm using this post to send a message out to the universe in honor of Desi, Edie, and Juliet. I have come to love them and hope their stories make their way to the printed page so you can read all about them!