The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.
Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.
My Writing Process
Today I’m going to share a step-by-step overlook of my general writing process! The process is different for everyone—there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to write a novel—but this is the most efficient method for me.
Step One: Decide what to write.
I keep a folder in my computer labeled “book ideas.” Whenever I come up with a book idea, I’ll write up what I have of the summary—whether it’s one sentence or one page—and save it in that folder. I currently have 33 items in my Book Ideas folder. Some of them are good, others aren’t. But I don’t delete the bad ones, in case someday later down the road I figure out how to transform them into something good. So my first step is to read over all of the ideas in the Book Ideas folder and decide which one I want to write! I’ll usually pick a top three or five and ask my family and friends what they think, too.
Step Two: Outline
I always write detailed outlines of my books before starting to draft them! I use Microsoft Word, and my outlines are scene-by-scene summaries of everything that I want to happen in the novel. I write everything down that I think of so I don’t forget anything. I do a lot of researching while outlining, also. Outlining first is helpful for me because it gives me a broader look at the story so I can make sure the pacing will be on track. Also, it helps speed up my drafting process, because I don’t need to worry about plotting at all while I’m drafting since I’ve already figured it all out ahead of time. The outline for my most recent book is seven pages long, single-spaced.
Step Three: Drafting
While drafting, I aim to write a minimum of 1,000 words a day, six days a week. Ideally, I would like to write 1,500 words a day, but 1,000 is a happy minimum for me. I tend to edit as I write, which is why 1,000 words a day works for me. Also—if I write 1,000 words a day, I’ll have a completed draft in three months or less, which I think is a good amount of time.
Step Four: Self-Editing
I won’t show anyone my drafts unless I’ve read through and edited them at least twice. I tend to leave out some necessary sensory details in my first draft, so I add those in while I’m editing. I keep a close eye out for continuity errors during this phase and fix those as well. My drafts also tend to include too much of the main character’s internal thought processes, so I’ll delete this whenever I feel like it’s dragging down the plot.
Step Five: Send book to my editor
If the book is being traditionally published, I send it to my editor at the publishing house. If it’s a book I’m self-publishing, I’ll send it to my family, since they help me edit. (Side-note: I have a lot of writers in my family, and they all give me honest critiques. Most people do not come from a family of writers, so I highly recommend sending your book to a beta-reader who has experience with writing novels, or to a professional editor.)
Step Six: Implement edits
This usually involves a decent amount of re-writing! Implementing edits can take me anywhere from two weeks to one month, depending on the extent of the edits.
Step Seven: Final read through
I’ll read through the book one or two more times to make final changes and make sure that everything is exactly how I want it!
Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in The Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video. Michelle’s latest YA series, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner, was published in March 2014 by Harlequin Teen. The second book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, released in November 2014, and the third book, Diamonds are Forever, will be coming out in November 2015. Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing.
Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).
To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow’s Street Team on Facebook!