We're so excited to welcome Jenelle Leanne Schmidt to Lands Uncharted as part of her blog tour celebrating the release of her middle grade fantasy, An Echo of the Fae! Jenelle has visited once before in a spotlight for Minstrel's Call, the last book in her Minstrel's Song series, which you can find HERE. (Plus I got to meet this fun, talented lady at a writers conference, and our short stories were published in Mythical Doorways together!) Today, she's sharing a look at her writing process, and of course I've included more information about Jenelle and her new book below :)
A Peek Into My Writing Process
Just as every book is different and every author is different, my writing process seems to vary from book to book. Some books require me to just write them. Sometimes I need a more in-depth outline. Sometimes I take time to create a character, but most of the time they step into my head fully formed and ready to go on an adventure (or ready to stay home and I have to be Gandalf and drag them out on an adventure even though they don’t want to, because it’s good for them)! About the only thing that stays consistent in my writing process is that I almost always write the story from start to finish. I don’t jump around, I don’t write the middle first, I don’t skip to the scenes I’m most excited to write... in every book so far except one, I just begin at the beginning and write to the end. In editing, some scenes may get rearranged a bit, but that’s for editing.
In the past couple of years, however, I have learned to implement one thing into my drafting process that has helped me stay on track and get rough drafts finished faster, and that is writing sprints. Writing sprints works better with at least a basic outline, and I’ve found that for me, they work best when I have a basic overall outline, as well as a more specific outline of whatever the next scene is in the story.
Then you set a timer for a set amount of time, block out all distractions, and write your fingers off until the timer beeps at you. I tend to start with a five-minute sprint and in a normal night of writing, I’ll work my way up by five-minute increments until I get to half an hour, usually taking 5-10 minute breaks in between sprints. I’ve realized that I tend to skip from 20 to 30 minutes though, I almost never do a 25 minute sprint. Not sure why that is! In this way, I can usually be guaranteed to have 1,500-3,000 new words written at the end of the 80 minutes of writing. Multiply that by 4 days a week, and I can easily write a 64,000 word novel in 8 weeks. Which is what I did with An Echo of the Fae.
And that’s great! But then I do end up with a fairly messy rough draft that needs some TLC. I’ll usually go through the draft with my editor’s hat on at least once, and then I send it to my awesome developmental editor, and he and I work through the story together, making sure that things make sense, that the tone of the story is consistent, that the characters act consistently, and that there aren’t any huge glaring plot holes.
Next, I send the book off to my line editor, who is also fantabulous and she works with me through all the rough patches and helps me smooth off the sharp corners of the story. She catches some of those smaller plot holes and inconsistencies and helps me with pacing and makes no bones about pointing out when I’ve used the word “water” 40 times in 3 paragraphs.
After this, I generally go to my beta readers to see how the story holds up under the scrutiny of those just reading for “fun” rather than as editors.
Now, with this particular story, after I got my info back from my beta readers, I ended up rewriting the end of the story about half a dozen times and sending it back and forth with my developmental editor again, because it just wasn’t working well. Finally, I had to scrap the original ending completely and rewrite a whole different set of chapters for it. But I really like the way it turned out and I’m super grateful that I have editors who are willing to stick with me (and stick to their guns when they can tell something isn’t quite... “it” with a story even if I’m being stubborn about liking what I originally wrote).
And finally, I have my incredible proof-readers, who help me make sure that the story is as error-free as possible, catching those pesky overused words that have stuck around through all the various rounds of editing and helping correct my punctuation... because apparently when I’m writing, all the rules for punctuation fly clean out of my head!
And that, in a nutshell, is my writing process! I hope you enjoyed hearing about it.
An Echo of the Fae was such an interesting writing experience, since the story fairly wrote itself. I sometimes feel like I can’t even really take credit for it, this story just wanted to be told, and I am grateful that I was the author used to tell it.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Jenelle! I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of An Echo of the Fae, and it's a sweet, exciting story filled with adventure and magical worlds to explore! Here's the back cover blurb:
Echo enjoys the peace and solitude of the Faeorn forest, regardless of how strange spending time in the “haunted” wood seems to others.
But on the cusp of her thirteenth birthday, the discovery of a family secret reveals why Echo has never been drawn to the sea like her mother. This discovery shakes the foundations of her world and sends Echo on a quest, not merely into the forest, but into the heart of the fae-lands themselves, to rescue the sister she didn’t know existed.
Elves, dragons, and fairy courts will put Echo’s wit and resolve to the test. But with time running out for her sister, will Echo even be able to save herself?
A fairytale adventure perfect for fans of The Secret of Roan Innish and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
An Echo of the Fae released on June 21st! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. And here's a little more about the author:
You can connect with Jenelle Leanne Schmidt on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon. Congratulations on your new release, Jenelle!!
Make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour:
Make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour:
When the Story Chooses the Author @James Quinlan Meservy
Character Interview with Echo and Jana @Live.Love.Read
Author interview @Dreams and Dragons
Myths and Folklore that Inspired An Echo of the Fae @Author E.E. Rawls
How I’ve Been Influenced by Fairy Tales @DJ Edwardson
Review and Author Interview @Smudged Thoughts
Author Interview @An Independent Will
Book Spotlight @Kyle Robert Shultz
Book Review @Live.Love.Read
Building the Fae Realm @JL Mbewe
A Peek Into My Writing Process @Lands Uncharted
Book Review/Spotlight @Cathrine Bonham
Friday 5s @Light and Shadows
Book Spotlight @Caroline Puerto
Character Interview with Jana @AMReynwood
Book Spotlight @NJWalker
Author Interview @Adventure Awaits
The Building of Ennis Rosliath @Live.Love.Read
Does the Author Matter? @An Independent Will
Book Review @ThePageDreamer
Interview with Jana @Dreams and Dragons
Book Review @Christine Smith Author
Character Interview with the Winter King @Beka Gremikova
Author Interview @Live.Love.Read.