News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

The Yearly Writing Cycle

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JC and I went to full time writing in 2007, and we moved from Colorado to Oregon almost immediately after.  The first year here was a bit rough, as we were in a strange place with no friends or family, and we had a house to remodel and a huge back yard to turn into a combination of vegetable garden and orchard.  

Five years later, we're still continuing both those projects.

But . . . we've also settled into a yearly writing cycle that has become second nature.  Around the end of May, we start outlining the Noble Dead book that is due on our editor's desk January 1st.  We actually spend almost as much time outlining those books as we do drafting them.  There are two of us working on the books, so we need to know the story (in detail) from beginning to end before we begin drafting.

May is also the time when JC tills up the gardens, and we start serious planting (due to heavy spring rains and cold temps, Oregon has a late planting season).  From May through the first half of August, we outline in the morning, and then we either work outside in the garden or inside preserving what we've grown in the afternoon.  This is probably my favorite time of year.  Around mid-to-late August, I start drafting the book.  By September, I've got my head into the plot and I'm hard at work.  We're still doing some harvesting, mainly apples and tomatoes, at that point, but I'm at my keyboard longer.  JC starts coming behind me in the book and doing his revisions.  By October, I'm on my keyboard from dawn to dark.  Once I've finished the draft, I start coming behind him.  We normally take a two-day break for Christmas, and we have the book ready for our editor by January.

I tend to take two or three days off, and I write a new story for the "Tales" project.  Once that is done, I take about two days off, and then I start an independent novel (meaning that I write it alone, not that it's an "indie" novel.  I have a contract with Penguin).  This used to be a Vampire Memories novel, and now it is a Mist-Torn Witches novel.  I work a lot faster on my own (I think anybody would), so I have this book ready to submit by April.

Somewhere in March, I get the veggie "starters" going in the kitchen for tomatoes, zucchini, basil, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Once my independently written novel is turned in, I launch full throttle into getting more stories done for the "Tales" project, so they are ready when JC needs to put up a new one.

Then in May . . . we start outlining the next Noble Dead novel.  I know this cycle cannot continue forever, but for now, it is comfortable and familiar and joyful to me.


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