My Writing Journey
From First Draft to Finished Product
“Before we begin, I’m going to assume ‘write, scream, write, scream, cry, edit, hit things’ is not an appropriate response for how I brought my new book, Teeth, from an idea to a finished product. Truth be told, however, there was a lot of that.
By the time I usually start a first draft of a story I have a detailed chapter plan and a solid view of exactly how the story is going to progress. That didn’t happen with Teeth. I started out with one idea for a scene: What would happen if a vampire fed on someone high on drugs?
“He… he got the munchies,” Spencer breathed. “August, there’s been a massacre.”
Sounds like a bit of a ridiculous thing to start a book with, right? Well, that was how it happened, and it just went nuts from there.
Teeth began its undead life on Wattpad, the free reading site. I had one of my other books, Dead and Buryd, on there with a couple of short stories, but I wanted to write something new for the site. I’d had the idea for a vampire story for a while, lots of little bits and pieces of paranormal tradition that I wanted to play with, and I ran with it. The first ten chapters were me just writing and seeing what happened. That part went very quickly. I was writing a chapter every two or three days for the first section.
The more I wrote, the more inspiration I had for the story until I ended up with more ideas than I knew what to do with. Two characters decided that they were gay, Thomas had a love interest, and I had two other races that I wanted to explore. Sometimes these things just creep up on you.
After the splurge of the first section, Teeth was written with a new chapter released to Wattpad each week. By the time I had finished the instalment at a 25 chapter story, I knew this wasn’t just something I was playing around with for fun anymore. This was a good story that I wanted to expand on. So, I set about creating the complete book.
I’d been editing a lot as I went, rereading and correcting things, updating the chapters on Wattpad, etc. But with the full draft complete, I went back and made extensive notes. Hints towards later plot twists were put in, pointless or confusing information was taken out, characters and dialogue were tightened.
I was incredibly lucky in that, by posting it on Wattpad regularly, I’d pretty much already had a dozen Beta readers who pointed out the bits they liked and the bits that confused them. Having this through the first drafts really streamlined the editing process for me, as I knew which bits to enhance on and which needed rewriting.
I went over it three times, each time rewriting entire passages and tightening the bits I was happy with. After that, it was edited again, though this time not by me. I twiddled my thumbs and watched a few episodes of Bones. I also cross stitched… the pattern is coming on well after that fortnight of not being able to touch my book.
One of the big new experiences with Teeth was in creating my own cover. I’d had a very clear image of the cover since the first time I made a temporary one for Wattpad. There was a lot of back and forth, putting the blood on, altering the background, playing with the spine width, etc. There was also a lot of screaming and hair pulling when it didn’t go the way I wanted.
I formatted both my previous books for eBook and print, and it was only with two books of experience that this one went a bit faster. I now knew that it was best to format the print copy first, as there is sometimes no other option than to delete a few words to make sure everything fits on the page. I have a print book template set up, so apart from ensuring the flow of each page, it was mostly aesthetic changes.
Next came the Word doc copy for Smashwords and the PDF copy. Only when all three were complete did I start on the eBook.
I use HTML to create my eBooks. Creating an eBook in this method involves a lot of symbols and codes, so I’ve found it’s best to do it last. I know some people do it via Scrivener and even word documents, but I prefer the complete control that comes with HTML. I guess I’m a control freak in that way. I find nothing more annoying than finding formatting errors in books I’m reading.
Then, the really hard work begins in marketing, but that’s another story altogether.”
Teeth by Chele Cooke
“Medical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer?
Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud.
One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.”
About the Book
Author: Chele Cooke
Title: Teeth (Teeth #1)
Genre: Paranormal Horror
Published: 8th January 2015