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By Lucy Leitner
How To Go From Idea to Publication in 8 Years

Take your idea in many directions

Now, if you’re doing it right, this part will be a little hazy when you reminisce on the process. It will have been 8 years, after all. That’s almost a decade after you had that initial germ of an idea and took it to its logical, though extreme conclusion. In the case of OUTRAGE: LEVEL 10 (which may be the first novel to be written in this breakthrough 8-year plan), the idea from which the others grew was a future in which science had cured everything except anything involving the brain. Centenarians with bionic limbs and artificial organs were terrorizing the people. You’ll want to explore this idea in bizarre ways that cannot sustain a book for at least a year. Think long and hard about stories you do not have the knowledge to write. Something about an Amish teenager waking up from a long coma in this future in which the hybrid vegetable the zuccumber is also of vital importance. 

Plan your book, but totally disregard it

A corkboard filled with color-coded notes on crucial plot points is critical wall decoration. If you made the mistake of writing it down, be sure to lose your key to what the colors mean. After the board is built, disregard it. No densely plotted dystopian mystery was ever carefully planned. You will be much more organized by writing most of the book in emails to yourself, various notebooks, and the iPhone Notes app.

Date the book with current references

It’s important to sprinkle in some pop culture jokes. Like a good whiskey, you want to make sure your book is properly aged before publication. If you can, work in some jabs about the Vice President’s plastic surgery. With any luck, by the time your book is published, he’ll be the subject of much speculation about cognitive decline when he becomes President and your joke will take on a totally new meaning. It may even anger some readers and detract from the rest of your work. Be sure to add these jokes.

Ideally, your 8-year-plan novel will be set in the near future. That way, your dystopia can come and go before your book is published. And, if you still want it to be set in the future, not an alternate reality, you get the fun task of changing all the dates with every draft. 

Rewrite multiple times without getting any other opinions

Asking for input is a surefire way to expedite the process. It will save you much agony. Avoid it at all costs. Instead, read your manuscript over and over. Fall in and out of love with your characters. Let them evolve with you. After all, it’s almost a decade-long process. You’ve changed. Your characters should, too. 

Get fired from your day job

This is the most important part of the process. If you do not get fired from at least two jobs, when will you have time to write your book? If not for those two ad agencies kindly relieving me of my duties, the first and second drafts of OUTRAGE: LEVEL 10 may never have been completed.

Do nothing for 2 years

Let the book mature. The longer it stays in a Word doc on your desktop without being read, the more interest it earns. You may be tempted to send your completed manuscript off to agents or publishers. Resist this urge. Your near-future has a police force with such little funding the officers wear movie cop costumes (including Wild West sheriff’s attire), and maybe by the time your book is set for publication, mass protests will make your fictional future seem closer to reality.

Submit the book to a publisher on a whim

It’s important to do this on a whim because odds are you will have stepped away from the manuscript for quite some time. That way, when you receive feedback, you will have no idea to what your publisher is referring. Who is this Mackenzie character of which he speaks? This will make rewriting a fun adventure. 

Rewrite the book in a frenzy

While it took you 7 years to write the book, it should take you three weeks to rewrite it. You should be employed at a day job for this part because you’ll be writing all through the night. All your writing should be done in a notebook that you keep on the nightstand, as the best ideas come when you’re on the verge of sleep. The worse your penmanship, the better. You don’t want morning you to be able to decipher night you’s prose without having to work for it. 

Make sure this process takes at least 8 years

It’s important to be an enigma. When interviewers ask you just how in the Hell you came up with a brain-damaged ex-hockey goon in a future where people have stopped dying and justice is meted out on social media, you want to be able to give them a definitive answer: You don’t remember. It makes for a fascinating conversation. Kind of like pleading the fifth. 

Lucy Leitner is an emerging author in the horror genre. Her new book, Outrage: Level 10 is published by Necro Publications and is available right now.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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