Friday, December 19, 2014

#NaNoWriMo's Over, Now What Do I Do?

Now that the dust has well and truly settled on NaNoWriMo 2014, it's time to look at what we accomplished during that month of madness. For those who aren't familiar with the magic and wonder that is NaNoWriMo, read this post.

It all comes down to this: 50,000 words in 30 days. Totally doable.

How do I know? I did it. Actually, I killed it.

I hit 50k on day 19 of NaNo, and I ended up with 60,565 words by November 30. Crazy? Yeah. Despite my apparent insanity (and a caffeine addiction that was more severe than anyone realized), I wrote a not-too-shabby first draft. I must say, as first drafts go I'm more pleased with this that I have been with any other.

Which means that I need to put it away and ignore it for at least a month. Maybe two, or three.

Um, what? Ignore my masterpiece? Why would I neglect my new baby?

Easy. Because it's not done yet.

As some of you know, I work for a publishing house that accepts open submissions every December. The slush pile rapidly fills up with still-smoking NaNo manuscripts, and we've never, not even once, offered on one. Yes, we can tell when it's your NaNo project. Yes, we're proud of you. Now go polish that baby up!

When you're still in that first flush of love with your new project you tend to overlook its flaws, like how you type "if" when you mean "of", or how you wrote three chapters in the wrong character's POV. Or said that the main character had blue eyes in chapter one, green eyes in chapter three, only to go back to blue in chapter ten.

Not that I have *ever* made those mistakes. My first draft errors are much, much worse :)

Anyway, my point is that there are only two groups of people you want seeing your first draft blunders: your trusted beta readers and critique partners. Wouldn't you rather they pointed out the flaws in your draft, instead of your dream agent when they reject you?

I sent my NaNo project, Changing Teams, out to my beta readers a few weeks ago, and I steadfastly refuse to make any changes until feedback has been received and processed. Will it be ready for submission then? Probably not, but it will be well on its way.

*sigh* Who knew being a writer would require so much patience?

Well? What are you doing with your NaNo projects? Tell me in the comments below! And, if your interested in seeing a teaser about my NaNo project, go here.

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