Rewriting a Novel in Fifteen Easy Steps

Edited papers

Just kidding, none of this is easy!


I was recently asked by my publisher to shift the focus of my next writing project slightly. I’m still slowly working on Pantheon 3, but my primary focus has shifted to a project I started over a decade ago. In fact, it was the first full novel I ever wrote and one that was rejected thirty-seven times. The only glimmer of hope I ever had from literary agents about my writing was being told it was “good writing/plot, but not commercially viable” because I couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to publishing a book every 18-24 months.

That little glimmer of hope was the spark that kept me going and a major factor in how I linked up with Force Poseidon. I sent them Pantheon and when they asked if I had anything else, I sheepishly handed over this story as well. My editor was enthralled, but we both acknowledged that it needed major reworking before it could be fit for publication. Additionally, due to my day job and the subject of the work, it will be an uphill battle to get it approved for release. So, we shelved it in favor of Pantheon 2: Ares & Athena, which was 75% complete at that point. But now P2 is published and P3 is only in the storyboarding phase, so it seems like as good a time as any to work on this new project. And who knows, given the possible timelines for approval from the Air Force, P3 may be complete by the time we hear back about this project.

Where does that leave me today? The work from 2009/2010 currently has 61,000 words; however, it needs a full reworking. I initially thought it might be an easy process. After all, 61k words is a lot to work with, but as I broke the process down, I realized I had more work in front of me than I initially thought. Since many of you have enjoyed reading about my writing process for the Pantheon series, I figured I could write about this process as well.

With fifteen steps, there’s a lot to write about! I’ve already written about some of the things on the list below, so I won’t re-write those posts. Expect that as I go through the process, I’ll add links to the “To Do” list.


To Do:

1. Finish re-reading old work

2. Character profiles

3. Scene/Act breakout

            A. Structure 3 Acts

            B. Scene cards for existing scenes

            C. Scene cards for new scenes

4. Re-structure w/new scenes

5. Cut out the shit scenes

6. Re-write from plot cards

7. Re-read full plot, by Act; make notes on impact/themes/scenes

8. Edit for clarity/continuity

9. Edit for grammar/formatting

10. Beta readers; may require NDA

A. Incorporate edits

11. Publisher edit and updates

12. Update and read for continuity

13. HAF PA approval (who knows how long this is?)

14. Release process

            A. Title finalized and released

            B. Cover art finalized and released

            C. Pre-orders

15. Pub day and French 75s!

            A. Marketing before/during/after

            B. Author meet and greet

            C. Newsletter/mailing list releases

The writing process

As you can see, it’s a lengthy process, but I have faith I can get through my part with speed and ease. The hardest part right now is reading my work from a decade ago when my technical writing skills were not what they are today. Oof. That’s tough to read without cringing.

Wish me luck!

Edited papers
Edit with red pen and highlighters

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