Behind The Scenes: Yesterday’s Gone: Season Four: Update 1

Behind the scenes of Yesterday's Gone: Season FourWe’re in the home stretch now of writing Yesterday’s Gone: Season Four.

I wanted to write some daily behind-the-scenes sort of stuff here as we go through the process, for fellow writers or readers who want to follow along.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but will talk a bit about some things going on, some of the challenges of coming back this season, etc…

I’ll also be revealing the publication date and the cover soon.

Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to talk about, questions you have about the process or the story, etc… and I’ll post my responses later this week.

Yesterday’s Gone: Season Four is our biggest book to date in terms of expectations. It is our most popular series, and Season Three was our most challenging book to write to date.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but the ending of Season Three changed left us in an interesting place to start this season. I’ll talk a bit more about that in another post.

At any rate, we’ve spent countless hours carefully planning this season to make it our best yet.

So I wanted to document this season in the weeks leading up to, and following, the release of Season Four.

THIS WEEK — EDITING

Right now we’re putting finishing touches on the season.

For those who haven’t heard us talk about our process to date, this is roughly how it goes, though we do change things up depending on time and story needs.

PHASE ONE

  1. Sean and I meet for story meetings to discuss the overall season and rough out some ideas we want to explore.
  2. We meet for individual episode story meetings. These are typically a few hours as we map out a particular episode. Sometimes, we’ll discuss two episodes, but usually it’s just one.
  3. We come up with “story beats” which I will write based on our story meetings. These can range from simple to complex, depending on several things. Beats are divided into two — ones Sean will write and ones I will write. Usually I’ll write a few hundred to a thousand words on a chapter for Sean’s chapters. I’ll do the same for my own.
  4. Sean and I then write our chapters in Scrivener, a great piece of writing software! Sean will edit his stuff a few times to get to what he wants. I’ll do the same.
  5. I then put my chapters into Sean’s Scrivener file, and he’ll go over my stuff to edit it, to pretty it up, etc…
  6. We meet for the next episode’s story meeting.
  7. I write new beats, repeat process.

Now we’re about to start Phase Two.

PHASE TWO

  1. I get the entire season and see everything Sean has written and what he’s done with my stuff. I’ll de-pretty some of the stuff Sean made too pretty, and make sure everything works and fix any errors I see, make sure the style is more or less uniform, and that POV chapters adhere to each character. For instance, Boricio chapters read VERY differently from Luca chapters. Some characters internally refer to guns in generic terms like guns or rifles, while someone more acquainted with guns would refer to them by their proper names. Younger characters think in different ways than older ones, etc… We try and keep things real within the framework of the story.
  2. I go through and make sure everything flows, see if we need to reorganize anything or write new material to better bridge scenes.
  3. I’ll write new stuff, if necessary.
  4. More story meetings to make sure we like everything and determine if we need to do anything else.
  5. I send my final edits to Sean to go over and make sure I didn’t wreck stuff. I think here he will re-insert some of the pretty, too. Sneaky bastard.
  6. We send to our new editor, Jason, who will make all kinds of awesome suggestions, catch most of our screw-ups, etc…

FINAL PHASE

  1. I go through and make sure Jason and I are on the same page as far as the edits are concerned. I’ll make needed changes, in my final edits.
  2. I’ll design the cover, write the author notes (with Sean) and get the book ready for publication. Usually I do this while Jason is doing his edits, time pending.
  3. We upload it into the stores.
  4. You buy the book, read it, and love it/hate it.

Phase Two, this time around, is only going to be a week, which means I need to hustle. We’ve got to start writing Z 2134’s second season next week. It should be enough time considering how much back-and-forth Sean and I have already had this season, and I feel like we’re on the same page more closely than any other project we’ve done. This is the fourth season, after all, and the 11th book we’ve co-written.

Shit, that’s a lot of writing in less than two years. And we’re not even including the 15 or so short stories we’ve written for Dark Crossings.

Anyway, that’s a look behind the scenes and giving you a general overview of how we write.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk about about the tone this season, the challenges of coming back, and whatever else I’m thinking about.

Again, let me know in the comments below (or email me) if there’s anything you’d like me to talk about, questions you have about the process or the story, etc… and I’ll post my responses later this week.