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1. Brainstorming, or "falling in love." You come up with an idea, and soon enough you become obsessed with it. You feel it's going to be a great story, but you are unsure how to approach the subject of you passion, i.e. how to write the story you have in mind. This stage might be short or long, depending on you. Some people like to outline, while others prefer to think it through and then sit down and get straight to writing.
2. The first draft, or "the fist date." This is the time when you are not worried about a long-term relationship. You just get it all out on paper; you are not concerned about grammar, or character development. All you need to know at this point is what your story will be, in a rough draft. Will it be a short fiction piece, or a few years' work? This is the best, most romantic stage because you can bring out the best of your creative abilities without any restraints.
3. Revising and editing, or "the commitment stage." As no relationship goes without arguments and compromises, no first draft is final unless you give up on your book whatsoever. Even though revising and editing are parts of the same process, there is a significant difference between the two. When you revise, you build up the story by means of inserting stronger scenes, or developing characters making them better-rounded and more fascinating to the reader. As soon as you know you've written the best story you could, you can move to editing - polishing your grammar and syntax, as well as finding better words to express your ideas. This is the most difficult and labor-intensive stage. The more effort you put into your"relationship," the better your book will be.
4. Submitting your work to publishers, or "the engagement period." At this point, you know that you want to get your book to print, and you need to find an agent in order to achieve your goal. Similar to the preparation for a wedding, a lot of research is going into submitting your work to publishers. You have to know who might be interested in what you've written and find the best way to present it to them. During the process, you might encounter lots of refusals, but don't get discouraged. Luckily, there are plenty of publishers, and there will be someone who would love to publish your book. When you get refusals, pay attention to what the reasons were. Maybe you need to tighten up your writing, or maybe they are looking for a different kind of stories. "Engagement period" is always stressful, but also rewarding - when it's over, your book will finally see the world.
5. Post-publishing period, or "the honeymoon." This is the sweetest time of all. Your goal is achieved, and your book is now on Barnes and Nobles bookshelves, or on Amazon. You might be going to book signings and promote your novel/story through all your social networks. Enjoy; you worked hard for it, and in the meantime, decide what your next book will be about, and start the process all over again.