How I Write Books

The story of my process told mostly in gifs.

First draft

Immediately veer off of outline. Write events, plot, dialogue. Things are out of order or don’t make sense. Drop/don’t develop minor plot threads. Overall, though, the story is there, even if it’s skeletal. Think, “Hey, I’ve got this.”

skeleton animated GIF

Second draft

Shove in ALL the backstory and do any major plot overhauling. Stuff in details and setting until draft is bloated and lumpy. Nothing flows. Think, “I hate everything because I suck.”

food animated GIF

This is both my draft and me.

Third draft

Pick apart the prose, smooth transitions so scenes work together. Add depth to emotion. Think, “This book is flawed, but I like it.”

supernatural animated GIF

I know what I’m doing. *hysterical laugh*

Fourth draft

Polish and add tiny details. Decide I need to go over it like five more times. Procrastinate because of burn out and barely have time to go over it once. Think, “This book is ONLY flaws.”

frustrated animated GIF

*incoherent weeping*

Finally, editors are like:

reaction animated GIF


Send in manuscript. Cry because I’ve survived writing another book.

Clean house. Color and binge-watch TV. Willfully forget I ever decided to be a writer in the first place. Attempt to tweet/Instagram/blog about book so as not to utterly disappoint agent.


Hide from the world.

Also: almost throw up every time someone posts a review. Obsessively check Goodreads for new ratings. Hate and love the story by turns. Make a decision.

Supernatural Spn animated GIF

Come across shiny idea.

other animated GIF


Immediately start new book.

About Caitlyn McFarland

Mom of three girls, writer of fantasy novels.
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2 Responses to How I Write Books

  1. Taffy says:

    I’m glad you didn’t stop writing!!!

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