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When I wrote Illegally Innocent (my first self-published novel), I did not have a set process for how I completed it or a certain number of drafts I planned to do before publishing. Honestly, I have no idea how many different drafts I wrote for that novel. When I wrote The Anorexic Experiment, I decided I wanted to try something different–basically a formula. Below you’ll see my novel-writing process for The Anorexic Experiment, and it worked so well that I am using the same formula for my current project, the sequel to Illegally Innocent. You can watch the companion video for this post on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/HLEgLyc3wmU. If you have a certain plan you follow for your writing projects, let me know in the comments below!

First Draft—I am not an outliner. I have a general idea of where the book is starting and where it is going to end up, and I have some plot points in mind that I want to touch on along the way. I try not to edit myself much at all in this first draft and mostly write whatever comes to mind. This is sort of a “junk draft.” I do not let anyone read it. Much of it may not even make sense to someone else or be in the order it is going to be in when all is said and done. I will have a word count target in mind and will try to write until I have both reached my target word count and have managed to form some semblance of an ending to the novel.

Second Draft—I start revising. I don’t spend a lot of time on descriptions or fine-tune the plot yet, but I rearrange the plot points into something that makes more sense, fix obvious errors, and in general turn it into something that I am okay with someone close to me reading. My husband, Mike, reads it to give me big-picture feedback.

Third Draft—I use Mike’s feedback to make more edits and now I will spend time on descriptions, fixing dialogue, and doing what needs to be done to make me comfortable with other people reading it. I fix everything I can identify as needing to be fixed. I ask for beta readers and send the manuscript to several people for feedback on things like what parts are confusing, what parts are boring, and any other general edits that they notice.

Fourth Draft—I take the feedback from my beta readers and incorporate much of it into my editing process. The book is basically finished by the time the fourth draft is done.

Fifth Draft—This is where I go over the book with a fine-tooth comb, checking for any grammar errors I may have missed; checking that I have called all of my characters by the correct names (and spelled their names correctly); and if I have used any brand names, I look them up to make sure that I spelled those brand names accurately. I also check for words that I may have repeated too often. One of those words that I tend to use too much is the word “actually.”

Done! Ready to start the formatting and publishing process!

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If you follow me on social media or subscribe to my e-newsletter, you may already know this information, but I would like to update my blog followers on what life has been like the past few months. At the end of June 2017, my second book, The Anorexic Experiment, released and I had big plans to spend the next several months on book promotion. I wanted to participate in as many events as possible and spend a lot of time doing online marketing of my new book. The first week of August, my husband Mike and I were excited to find out that we were expecting our first child. Along with the pregnancy came a lot of exhaustion, and many days I didn’t have the energy to do much beyond working at my full-time day job. I only participated in a handful of events and did not end up dedicating nearly as much time to marketing as I had originally thought I would.

At our first prenatal appointment on October 2, we found out that I had experienced a missed miscarriage. A missed miscarriage means that the baby has died, but the mother does not have any symptoms of a miscarriage. The baby did not have a heartbeat, and an ultrasound revealed that the baby was only measuring 10.5 weeks when it should have been measuring 13.5 weeks. We were devastated, and I ended up having surgery on October 13 since my body was not naturally miscarrying on its own. I wanted to take the rest of 2017 to recover both physically and emotionally, and so I decided not to do much of anything with my writing for the remainder of the year. Other than a few social media posts, I did not do anything to promote my books or do any writing on a future project for those last several weeks of 2017.

By the time the first day of 2018 arrived a few weeks ago, I was ready and eager to return to writing. I have been working on the sequel to my first book, Illegally Innocent, and am currently about 25% of the way through writing the first draft. I have slowly eased back into making social media posts and returned to sending out my e-newsletter in January. I am hoping to have some events scheduled soon and will share with you when I do.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who have experienced miscarriage.

My new YA novel, The Anorexic Experiment, is part of a Kindle Countdown Deal right now, and you can buy it for just $0.99! This weekend it will go up to $1.99, and then Sunday night it will go back up to its normal price of $2.99. Grab it at the discounted price while you can! Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Anorexic-Experiment-Angela-Bacon-Grimm-ebook/dp/B073C59BSX/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501794191&sr=8-1.

I’ve been starting to receive this question about my new book: Have I (Angela Bacon Grimm) ever struggled with an eating disorder?

No, I have not. I did my best to portray those with eating disorders accurately in my book, The Anorexic Experiment, based on research and talking with those who have experienced eating disorders. Despite not having an eating disorder, I do feel like I can relate to Aimee (my main character) a tiny bit through the concept of restriction. I’m going to put a disclaimer on this statement that I do realize what I am about to say is not the same thing as an eating disorder, but it’s the only way I can relate to those who have experienced one.

As a child, I had food allergies to corn, wheat, and dairy. They weren’t life-threatening, but prior to eliminating these foods, I had a rash in patches on various locations of my body, ranging from my legs all the way up to my face. Through a careful diet and regular, frequent visits to a kinesiologist, my rash was eliminated. As an adult, I still struggle a little with a rash from those foods, but it is not nearly as severe as when I was a child; so I do eat these foods in moderation. In elementary school, when I had to be super restrictive about what I consumed because of my allergies, I sometimes felt left out when I watched what other kids ate. It was the most bothersome at events like birthday parties, when I would bring things to eat like rice crackers and juice boxes while other kids were eating cake. So, in that small way, I can identify with those struggling with anorexia–you feel like there are foods you can’t eat, and you just don’t feel like you’re “normal” in regards to food. I do realize that this is not at all the same thing as an eating disorder; this is just my EXTREMELY small way of trying to relate.

You may be interested in what inspired me to write this book. Check out this post for that information: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/all-about-the-anorexic-experiment-part-2/.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, PLEASE GET HELP. A good place to start is by contacting the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Their phone number is 1-800-931-2237.

My new YA novel, The Anorexic Experiment, is now available to buy on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats! You can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Anorexic-Experiment-Angela-Bacon-Grimm-ebook/dp/B073C59BSX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498928514&sr=8-1&keywords=the+anorexic+experiment. In about two weeks, it will also be available for sale at Harding’s Market in Otsego, MI, if you prefer to buy it at a “real” store rather than through Amazon. I hope to have it available to buy other ways soon as well.

I will be holding book signings at Harding’s on Friday, July 21, from 2-5 p.m. and on Saturday, July 22, from 12-3 p.m. I am also speaking at the Pizza & Pages Teen Book Club at the Otsego District Public Library on Tuesday, August 29, at 4 p.m. I will post more events as I schedule them.

What inspired me to write The Anorexic Experiment?

The Anorexic Experiment, like Illegally Innocent, was a book I started writing in college. I may or may not have had a tendency over the years to get a strong start on writing a book and then get a different idea and start working on that one. 🙂 When I was in college, xangas were all the rage. In case you’ve never heard of a xanga (pronounced “zanga”), a xanga is just a blog. I don’t know if WordPress even existed back then, but if you wanted a blog, xanga was considered to be the way to go. Anyway, several of my friends had one, and I finally joined it and wrote mostly short, ridiculous posts that contained inside jokes that only my dormmates would understand. Xanga had these things called “blog rings” where you could join groups of other xanga members who wrote on similar topics as you.

One day I was browsing random xangas (as one does when procrastinating on research papers and such), and I stumbled across a blog ring full of people who wrote about eating disorders. I was alarmed to discover that these people (primarily females) were posting about their weight, their food intake for the day (many times drastically low), and all sorts of “inspiration” to give readers ideas on how to be anorexic and bulimic. I read posts from several of these blogs and was so bothered by one that I commented on one of her posts. She responded on one of my posts. It was so long ago that I don’t remember what I said or what she said, and I can’t find it now. The whole situation affected me so much, though, that it stuck with me and I decided to write about it. I wrote just two or three chapters of it while in college and set it aside until a few years ago when I decided to work on it some more.

My new YA novel, The Anorexic Experiment, releases on Tuesday, June 27! It will be available in paperback and eBook, and I will post a new blog entry with links to buy it once it is out. You can also visit my events page to find out where you can buy a signed copy (more events coming soon): http://angelabaconbooks.com/events/. Here is a quick description of the book:

Although the Jones family may look happy from the outside, secrets are slowly tearing them apart. What starts as a harmless assignment for journalism class morphs into an obsessive nightmare for fifteen-year-old Aimee Jones. A new friend, Josh, complicates matters even more. Will Aimee give in to temptation or find her own voice in the middle of chaos?
Aimee’s mom, Sara, fills her time with cooking and cleaning to avoid focusing on herself. Her attempts to make life healthy for her husband and kids do not equal good health for herself, though, and sometimes the pressure becomes too much. Will Sara take some time to focus on her own needs or keep pushing her problems away until it’s too late?

 

You will notice something a little different about my name on this book. I have decided to change my author name over to my married name, which is Angela Bacon Grimm. For now, my first book, Illegally Innocent, will continue to list “Angela Bacon” as my author name, but that may change once I release the sequel to Illegally Innocent. If you’d like to read the first couple of chapters of either of my books, you can find them under the “Books” page of my website, www.angelabaconbooks.com.

Thank you to everyone for your support of my writing over the past few years!  🙂