Sophie’s Encore, First Draft… Done-Done-Done!

In this post: how I improved my writing process; and what’s next for Nicky Wells, author

I finished!

It’s done! Oh yes, the first draft of Sophie’s Encore is finished. It came in at just over 105,000 words and I am pleased with it. It made me laugh, and cry, and bite my nails.



It was quite a different writing experience…

Unlike Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run, which were both written in a mad, continuous and single-minded frenzy, Sophie’s Encore was written in small, deliberate instalments. If you added all the time together, you’d find that it probably took me about twelve weeks to write this third book. However, the twelve weeks were spread out over almost five months because there were several other authorly activities that required my attention.

First and foremost, the beginning of writing Sophie’s Encore overlapped with the book launch for Sophie’s Turn, book 1. I spent a significant amount of time promoting my first baby and keeping up with the book tour.

Next, writing Sophie’s Encore also clashed with the editing process for Sophie’s Run. I had a three-week break from writing in November while I took care of publisher edits for book 2; and then another two-week break in December for proofing and final formatting of ditto. Add to that the Christmas festivities, and you won’t be surprised that I didn’t touch the manuscript for Sophie’s Encore at all in December.

And lastly, of course, there was the launch of Sophie’s Run which coincided with the very end of the writing process of Sophie’s Encore. Talk about multi-tasking!

And yet, Sophie’s Encore got done, and ahead of my own personal schedule too. How so?

Two reasons, I think. One is that the frequent breaks and smaller writing instalments actually made for better writing, or at the very least for a better writing experience. I came back refreshed and eager to the manuscript every day; and after the longer breaks, I took the time to re-read the entire work before continuing it, pressure-testing it ‘real-time’. This meant that I had a much greater confidence in what I had already produced, and also afforded me the opportunity of doing a little bit of pre-editing here or there.

Which leads me to the second reason. Having had the benefit of two extensive editing processes through Sapphire Star Publishing also improved the writing process for Sophie’s Encore. Let me remind you that the first draft of my second book, Sophie’s Run, came in at nearly 150,000 words ~ requiring a good 45,000 words to be chopped by me personally before publisher edits and eventual publication. I learned my lesson, but I didn’t notice until I started writing book 3.

Everything I chopped out of book 2 (and book 1 before that) involved amusing episodes or back story that I enjoyed writing but that, in hindsight, didn’t advance the plot. What’s more, I probably knew that even while I was writing them because I got a kind of…impatient buzz from them. A kind of, move-on-and-hurry-up buzz, only I didn’t know what it meant at the time.

With Sophie’s Encore, I did. The first time I found myself writing something that gave me that kind of…nice-but-not-relevant feeling, I stopped. I re-read. I listened to my heart. I thought of the editing process. And I chopped the section out right away.

It’s incredibly hard to gauge this but I think I figured it out. When I re-read the manuscript after my breaks, I whizzed through it with barely an itch for the red pen. My famous ‘Queen of Hearts’ internal editor remained silent.

Of course I’m not deluded enough to believe I have produced the perfect manuscript. In fact, I am quite certain that it’ll require some significant polishing to bring you the very best I have to offer. But I do think it’s the best first draft I have yet produced. Surely that counts! 🙂

What happens now?

Well, right now, I am spring cleaning! I kid you not. I have given myself a couple of weeks off writing, or thinking about writing, while I let my mind come to a rest and give myself distance from the manuscript. To me, that’s a critical part of the process.


LOL, you know me ~ I don’t do anything by halves!

And when I’m done with spring cleaning, I’ll get planning book 4. Of course. You didn’t think you’d heard the last of me after Sophie’s Encore, did you? Book 4 will be an entirely new story with new characters and I’ll tell you more about that…nearer the time.

In April, I will take Sophie’s Encore through a first round of author edits, incorporating the feedback of my beta-readers who are busy reading as I write this blog post. I love you, ladies, and I trust you with my baby! Over the summer, Sophie’s Encore will undergo publisher edits and then….before you know it… It will be launch day. 5 September!

See that small pile on the left? That's Sophie's Encore. By the time Sapphire and I are done with the editing, the pile will probably be as big as the one next to it which...yes, you guessed it, is the complete round of edits and proofs for Sophie's Run. Who says us writers aren't busy??

See that small pile on the left? That’s Sophie’s Encore today. By the time Sapphire and I are done with the editing, the pile will probably be as big as the one next to it which…yes, you guessed it, is the complete round of edits and proofs for Sophie’s Run. Who says us writers aren’t busy?

When can I tell you more about Sophie’s Encore?

Patience, my friends, patience. I will keep you posted, I promise. Sophie’s RUN is only just out ~ let me share the joy of book 2 with the world before I move onto shouting about book 3. I promise you’ll be the first to know. There’ll be a cover reveal at some point, and I’ll post a synopsis and who knows… I’ll probably share an excerpt ahead of time too. Watch this space!

🙂 Rock on!

32 responses to “Sophie’s Encore, First Draft… Done-Done-Done!

  1. Oh wow – I loved reading this post! Congratulations Nicky – I’m in awe of your writing and your professionalism.

    Janice xx

  2. Hi Nicky
    You’ve done it before…now you can do it again.
    So in order to celebrate [a little] I’d like to offer a musical interlude albeit the real message in the song is different, the feeling of accomplishing your goal is the same, even more so since this time it has finally reached a conclusion.

    So now with your trilogy under your belt, what will be your next writing endeavor?

    • Aw, bless you, Robin, thank your for your song! My next writing endeavor… Psst, I don’t want to give too much away right now as we’re definitely getting well ahead of ourselves here but it will involve rock music, glitz, glamor, romance and all manner of twists and turns! I’ll be hammering out the concept over the coming weeks. XX Thanks, as always, for visiting! 🙂

  3. You’ll be drafting it while you are spring cleaning – if I know you! Totally agree with taking time out to recharge the batteries, Nicky. Sometimes your mind needs space to wander! Love it! Well done you! 🙂 xx

  4. You’ve come a long way Nicky – love it that you’re listening to your intuition having learnt from past experience. CONGRATULATIONS x

  5. You are awesome! 🙂 Congratulations!

  6. Yay! Well done you. Such an satisfying feeling to write The End.
    Enjoy the cleaning!

    • LOL, those are actually the only two words I didn’t write, haw haw! I couldn’t quite get myself to be so blunt. But the words I did write were just as satisfying ~ as you’ll find out soon! XXX 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  7. Nicky, you are an inspiration!

  8. Well done, Nicky! I hope you are having a much-deserved glass of wine tonight!
    You’ve given me food for thought actually, as I write every first draft in one go, doing nothing else for weeks at a time until it’s finished. I’d never thought of writing in short bursts like that, but it’s very interesting to read that you think it worked better for you. I will definitely think about trying things this way!

    • Hi Jaimie! Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I’d love to hear how you get on if you try a different strategy. Writing is highly individual and you’ll definitely have to work how you work best. That said, I always considered myself as ‘write in one go’ kind of person and I was really surprise how much less draining it was to write in shorter instalments, and how much….smoother the process seemed. I caught some contradictions and errors along the way that I definitely wouldn’t have seen had I just written in one go, and that was a fabulous feeling. Not to say there isn’t more, of course, haw haw haw! Stay in touch, I love to hear from you! XX

  9. Well, I’d say that’s being SUPER organised and the spring-cleaning is going to be cathartic! I always clean when I want to unwind and afterwards it gives that wonderful feeling of ‘everything’ being bright and shiny! Just like the cover of Sophie’s Run….!

    • Ah, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this! It’s very satisfying to have everything clear and shiny although what with this grey weather, it’s hard to get motivated as the smears on the windows don’t show up (i.e. the urgency is less, lol). Thanks for visiting and commenting, Linn, you’re a star! X

  10. Really good post Nicky – thanks! It’s nice to know I’ve not only Sophie’s Run waiting for me but Sophie’s Encore too. Never mind what ‘Katie Did Next’ – it’s what Sophie did next I’m interested in! xxx

    • Hey, Shani! Thank you so much for stopping by and I am thrilled you enjoyed the post… Oh yes, two more books waiting for you right now and once I get going, there’ll be a fourth one before we all know it, albeit a different story with a new set of characters who will also totally rock (if I say so myself, LOL). Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment! See you soon, rock on! X

  11. Ha, I knew you wouldn’t be able to stop at 3!!! But seriously, this was a very interesting post about learning and growing as a writer.
    Well done on finishing and good luck with the spring cleaning – you can always come and do mine as well, if you want a change of scenery!

    • Ooh I’d love a change of scenery, LOL. Although I’m just about there with the cleaning, that’ll do me for another year. Back to writing books now, har har. Thank you for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the post! xx

  12. You really are superwoman, to my mind! Congrats on finishing book 3, and on what you’ve learned this time around. We work in smaller writing instalments, too (out of necessity), and I usually do light edits from ‘last time’ before I write fresh words. That always seems to help me keep right flow and also I can pick up what’s not working before I drag it too far!

    Really glad to hear you have a new book up your sleeve and that you’ll still be writing. 🙂

    But please do take a breather if/when/before you need it. Do you run on Duracells or something?? 😉

    • LOL, Jo, I love you! Yes, I am taking a bit of a breather. I’m sort of working half-shifts, keeping things ticking over but allowing myself to rest, sleep, eat, watch some TV and… READ! Thank you for your lovely comment and it sounds like we work in quite similar ways. So happy for your latest launch and hope The House of tthe STORMWIND takes the world by STORM!

  13. Great post, Nicky! It’s very good to hear that the short installments worked for you because I’m doing the same kind of thing for my current WIP. Enjoy your break (haha, if you can call it that). But I know what you mean. My place is in desperate need of some spring cleaning!

    • Hi Libby, so good to hear from you! Yes, the installments worked really well, I think, and here’s to wishing you best of luck with your own WIP-in-Installments! Am enjoying the break indeed, taking it a little bit easy… and the weather’s been so lousy, the rest of the spring clean’s been put on hold for a little while. Bonus, haw haw haw! Take care and rock on!

  14. Wow well done, whoopee and ding dong!! Go girl! So pleased to hear this and so happy that it will all be out there soon. Congrats and much success to you. I do have a little vested interest after-all. Good news. 🙂

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