Continuation of Warning to my Friends.
The writer is a very curious creature. Often elusive and shy, they often hide what they often refer to as a WIP (work in progress.)
This WIP is often the focus of a writer’s creativity for long stretches of time and often comes in various forms and phases.
The first phase is generally the most random: The Idea. Possibly the most creative stage, the Idea is often tracked and hunted by the writer and his or her muse. By offering chocolate, wine, music or art, the muse can be cohered into taking items and bringing them together. Often this produces a plot and/or characters to begin a WIP.
The second phase for most writers is outlining or writing out several parts of the Idea to see where they fit together. Pages of notebooks are often sacrificed in this phase (look for them in trashcans or old battered folders.)
Not all writers participate in this second phase. Some jump right to the next one, Draft-0 (zero).
Draft-0 is often the roughest portion of the writing process. This is the starting phase to the actual writing, or at least what most people think of as writing. Some writers will go through the story in a linear fashion, but some jump around writing different scenes as they become clear. Often a writer will make notes on things they might want to come back to later.
Draft-0 is often followed by Draft-1. This draft is where the writer begins editing and firming up the story line and the plot.
Depending on the writer, Draft-1 may be followed by Draft-2 through Draft-2,093,237 before it reaches the next various stages.
Beta-reading is one option of the writer. A good Beta-reader is a precious commodity to the writer. The Beta gets to read the WIP in one of its phases and discuss with the writer as to what needs to be worked on. Beta-readers are often greatly trusted and feared at the same time. They can help build up the story or find all of the holes that the writer missed.
Another option is Submission. This happens especially with short stories. A writer will check out sites like Dutrope to find a home for the story. They then format the work according to specifications, create a cover letter, and attach or paste the document into the email.
Then comes the WAIT.