Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Congrats, NaNoWriMo winners! Now what? (And a plug for Worldbuilders)

I really hope that if you churned out 50,000 words in November that you’re not in front of the computer today. (Reading this on a phone or tablet is acceptable, however.) You deserve a break! Congratulations for all your hard work in creating…what exactly?

Let’s call it a proto-novel, because while it’s going to be a novel some day, it’s not a novel at the moment. It’s a first draft, a heap of words with just enough connective tissue to create the bones of a story. Zombie-like, it has emerged from your brain-things and is now shuffling about your hard drive. It is not yet alive. It’s most certainly not ready for real readers. (Beta readers are, of course, perfectly fine.)

So whatever you do, don’t start querying literary agents! I have it on good authority (i.e. drunken, frustrated agents) that many agents dread December due to all of the NaNoWriMo stuff that’s slopped into their inboxes. It’s not that NaNoWriMo is bad — Far from it! You wrote stuff! — it’s just that the books hastily submitted to agents just aren’t ready for prime-time. And they won’t be for a while.

So what do you do? First off, remember that it’s no longer a race. You did the thing, produced the words. Now the hard part starts. And that takes time. I suggest taking a week off, reconnect with your family and friends, and generally remember to eat, sleep and be social once more. Let the zombie shuffle around a bit. It’s not going anywhere.

Then you start revising. And revising again. Probably a third time. This is the part where you connect the words together, make sure each passage is carrying its weight in the story, each sentence is complete and has the appropriate amount of nouns, verbs and adjectives, with a sprinkling of adverbs. (Don’t overdo it on the adverbs. Think of them as seasoning. A little goes a long way.)

This is now the time where you sit back, ease off the throttle, and make sure what you wrote becomes good. This is when you revive the zombie. Only after revision and attention to detail and thorough review can you sit back and scream, “It’s alive. ALIVE!

And only after that should you begin to query. Many literary agents will thank you for your patience.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that you can still chip in on the WriMos for Worldbuilders fundraiser. Each $10 gets you an entry into a lottery for fabulous prizes — four of which are critiques of your writing. (Why, yes, I’m one of the four people offering critiques.) It can be a critique of the thing you just wrote. Or something else. Whatever. If you win, it’s your call. You have until Dec. 14 to chip in.

It would be super swell of you to donate, and I hope karma wins out and I get to critique your proto-zombie-novel.

#SFWApro

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Filed under Charity, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Thanks, 2011! Hello, 2012!

Have a happy new year! And no, the end of the Mayan calendar will not bring the apocalypse. Sorry.

It was a year ago today, on New Year’s Eve 2010, that I started this blog, so it seems fitting somehow to check back in a year later. When I started, I didn’t have an agent, and my first novel wasn’t really in awesome shape (though I thought it was a gem, of course). The blog was part of an effort to show that I could have a “social media strategy” as an author, thus making myself more attractive to agents and publishers.

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Filed under Beer Snobbery, Books, Food, NaNoWriMo, Travel, Writing

Snack dip as revision metaphor

A tasty, tasty metaphor.

First off, a big blog congratulations to @StephenWilds over on Twitter, who joined the hordes…er…bunch?…of followers who signed on in November for a chance to win a critique of their work or a sneak peek at mine. An avid writer, Stephen opted for a critique. That means I may yet be inclined to share a short excerpt of Spacebuckler here on my blog at some point. Stay tuned.

Now then…remember seven-layer dip? That’s my writing metaphor du jour. It’s also an unholy mess to eat, no matter how you try to do it. Revising your work is also an unholy mess at times, but perhaps this might help, especially now that some of  you out there have the first draft of a novel in hand thanks to NaNoWriMo.

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What I’m learning from (failing) NaNoWriMo

In this case, I think the hare's winning.

So…what did I do this weekend? One soccer practice and two kiddie birthday parties, a rare dinner out for two, leaves raked, dangling tree limb removed (and wrist tweaked in the process), pork roast made, kitchen cleaned. Today I went to work, then came home and did some pre-Thanksgiving cooking (turkey brine, homemade herb butter, pecan pie). I’m wiped.

You may notice one missing item here — writing.

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My first guest post, on writing with immediacy

I’m privileged to be guest posting over at Feliza Casano’s blog today. She’s a member of the University of Toledo Writer’s Guild and, it should be said, is doing a far better job of writing during NaNoWriMo than I am thus far.

Click here to check out the post!

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And unto us a book is born

Happy Birthday, new book. May you grow up into something readable.

Today is the first day of the rest of your…book.

It’s odd, really. My first book was a very organic creation, one that was noodled over for years even prior to the process of writing it. I can honestly say I didn’t even pay attention to how many words I wrote per day. It just grew over time, with revisions blurring together in my head, if not in my filing system.

My NaNoWriMo book was merely a notion that was leapt upon by my agent, Sara. Her enthusiasm led me to try to find a way to do it, and then I remembered NaNoWriMo. I quickly outlined and developed the characters, and did everything else that I’d normally spend weeks and months doing.

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It’s a contest! Follow me on Twitter and win!

Follow me on Twitter and win! (Button not included.)

That’s right, I’m doing a contest. As part of my NaNoWriMo participation, anyone who’s following me on Twitter by midnight (EST) on Nov. 30, 2011, has a chance to WIN. And it’s not Charlie Sheen-style winning either, which would indicate a mere gloss of confidence thinly masking immense personal loss and self-destruction. There are tangible prizes!

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Filed under Books, NaNoWriMo, Weirdness, Writing