The 10 Stage Writers Tracking System – Idea to Published.

Issue #81 * Blog #21-2018 * Read Time: 4 minutes * Section: Author Joseph Clay’s Writing Tips

Hello everyone, who is ready for a three-day weekend, that’s right Labor day is almost here!

When I publish a Writing/WIP (Work in Progress) update I include the completion status of the book broken down into stages.

At one time I used a 9 step system. In some of the blogs I omitted an explanation of what each stage represented. My readers, both new and old, are sharp and informed me of my oversight, requesting an explanation of the stages.

My followers also brought to my attention that I had left out a stage, the preparation before the writing started.

I decided to write a blog that explained the system, detailing what was included in each stage. I also added “Prepare” to the list at number 1, which moved the others down a notch making the system 10 stages instead of 9.

Legend: 10 Stage Writing Tracking System.

  1. Prepare
  2. Write
  3. Manuscript Review
  4. Rewrite
  5. Edit
  6. Proofread
  7. Exterior/Interior
  8. Publish
  9. Holding
  10. Dead Tale

There they are, the ten stages I use to keep track of my writing progress.

Now I shall get into what tasks and work are in each stage.

  • Stage 1 – Prepare: This stage contains the story idea and the research needed to write a tale that has believable characters and is as close to real life as possible. Stage 1 is where the writer develops an outline, plot structure and characters for the story. A title is given, which may change several times before the book is released.
  • Stage 2 – Write:  Self explanatory. Using the outline and plot structure from Stage 1 write the first draft of the story.
  • Stage 3Manuscript Review: After stage 2 is complete it’s time to get a review of the work, from a professional. That review should include a summary of plot, characters and structure. The review may also include notes on the setting and any other issues and/or comments the editor feels the writer needs to make. This is also the perfect time to get the manuscript in the hands of BETA readers to see how they like the story.
  • Stage 4Rewrite: This stage is all about communication between the editor and writer as the manuscript review is discussed. The writer reviews and discusses anything in the review that is not agreeable or to get clarification of suggested changes. Once that is complete the writer has to make a decision. Will the suggestions from the editor take a lot of time to implement? If the writer is busy with other stories the writer may choose to move the work into stage 9 (See Below). The writer also may choose to move it to stage 10 (See below).  Once the writer decides how to proceed the re-write begins by incorporating the agreed changes into the manuscript.
  • Stage 5Edit: Stage five consists of three steps. With stage 4 complete the writer returns the manuscript back to the editor. – The editor will begin checking for grammar and spelling errors along with reviewing the changes made during the rewrite. The editor will return the marked-up manuscript back to the writer. – The writer makes the suggested changes.
  • Stage 6 – Proofread: Once the writer has all the edits made its time for a proofread. The proofread needs to be done by the editor and writer. The writer can also let others proof the story, but remember it’s the writers responsibility to also proof the manuscript before it goes onto Stage 7.
  • Stage 7Exterior/Interior: The manuscript is as close to perfect as possible and the writer is ready to publish the book to the reading public. This stage includes cover design along with illustrations, if desired. Next the manuscript will need to be formatted for eBook and print publication. This is also the stage to get your book trailer video in the works, if one is to be used for marketing.
  • Stage 8Publish: Once stage 7 is complete submit the proper formatted manuscript, eBook or print, to the publisher of your choice.
  • Stage 9Holding: There is no work involved in this stage, its more of a status. Manuscripts here need a lot of work. The manuscript has been reviewed, the story and plot are sound but there are extensive and major changes that need to be made and will require a lot of time to do so. The writer may move the manuscript from a WIP to Stage 9 to focus on other projects. When ready the writer moves manuscript back to WIP and begins at Stage 4.
  • Stag 10Dead Tale: Once again there is no work involved in this stage, its more of a status. The manuscript has been reviewed and placed on life support. The story has plot issues, character issues, and holes throughout it. To resurrect this manuscript will mean starting at Stage 1 with a new plot and/or outline.

Now on to how I calculate the over all completion status. 1 – 8 are writing stages. 100 divided by 8 equals 12.5. So each stage gives you a 12.5% completion. Within each stage you also have completion percentages. For instance lets say you have written 10,000 words in an projected 40,000 word novel. That equates to Stage 2 – Write, being 25% complete but only adds 3.125 percent to the overall completion rate.

Example: Stage 1 – Prepare (Complete 100%) –  Stage 2 – Write (25% Complete) – Stage 3 through 8 (0%). Your overall status is 15.6% Complete.

Note: until the book is published your completion percentage will never be 100% while the work is in process.

I hope I have made the muddy water clearer.

NOTE: The 10 Stage Writers Tracking System – Idea to Published was original written and posted on August 29, 2018 to Author Joseph Clay’s Official Blog. The blog was transferred to this site on September 12, 2020.

Blogger: Joseph Clay

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