Precious Readers, let me make something perfectly clear. I am not a true participant of November’s #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have already had a first novel in the works since January. I tip my hat to anyone truly working from start to finish a novel in 30 days. You are truly a stronger (and might actually be) crazier, than I.
The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to plot, plan and write 50,000 words within 30 days. It is doable. I think if I pushed myself, I might actually get close to competing that goal. But one ting I am certain, I’m not sure if I’d want to.
I’m far too detail oriented not to go back and delete things that seem outright wrong on my screen, right in that moment. There are some who use voice controlled programs to audibly write their novels. I personally tried Dragon software. It’s an amazing program and I recommend it, but I’m not sure if it was right for me. You have to verbally say “new paragraph,” “comma,” “delete” along with other voice commands that break my stream of thought of getting my story onto the page. I’m too detail oriented not to watch my words appear on the screen and trust to keep going blindly facing away from the monitor.
Some type all 50,000 words in 1 day. I personally don’t see the point as this could cause (possibly irreparable) damage to my tools: my hands, wrists, and fingers.
Instead, my plan to participate in NaNoWriMo is this: Since I already had most of a first draft done, I wanted to finish the next stages of writing a novel by the end of November. This includes the following:
Step 1: Finish Draft 1
As of Nov. 1 I was 4 scenes away from finishing Draft 1. I needed to buckle down and get those scenes out of me. I didn’t write for the month of October, as Pilot and I were facing some financial decisions, working on melding Lou The Chihuahua into our family, keeping Nimitz from killing Lil’ Lou, and hosting Halloween party with my friend, Caring.
Step 1 Progress Report: As of 1:28 AM on 11/3/2015, I typed the words, “The End” on my first draft. Yea me!
Step 2: Finish Draft 2
Draft 1 focused on getting my story out. Getting my Protag’s experiences and growth out onto the screen. You should know that I am highly proficient in MS Office programs. This includes MS Word. When I came to an area where I needed to describe details about an object, or didn’t want to spend time describing an environment in detail, I left a “gray field” to come back to. I wanted to focus more on my character’s thoughts, conversations, and get the plot onto the page. Things like describing the scent inside of a vehicle, or the noises of a restaurant, I left for when I had time to think about those things. Being more detail-oriented, I have had to train myself to “keep writing” and not get caught up in those details. Believe me, I can nickel and dime the structure of a story and get caught up in a huge time suck before I get back to why my character is doing something. Working on Draft 2 allows me to go back and fill those non-plot specific areas and beef up details.
Step 2 Progress Report: Will begin tomorrow.
Step 3: Find Critique Partners
This one is tricky. I’ve been fortunate to meet face-to-face several authors whose writing I admire, characters I love, and advice I clutch to my chest. (Sorry, I hate the word “bosom.” It just sounds odd.) However, being that they’re working on their stories, published several times over, and I’m barely-patiently waiting for their next works to come out, it means that they’re busy. I don’t want to be that overbearing, conceited fan asking them to take away from their writing schedules to read my (extremely) rough draft.
I also don’t want to entrust my equivalent to a BABY (other than my dogs) to a complete stranger, unless they come highly recommended from said admired authors. I have some friends and family who have offered to read my stuff. The problem is, I’m not sure if they understand what they’re asking. A second (or even third) draft is still considered extremely rough and I’m looking for people who will focus on the story, not the technical/formatting edits at this time. I need not only critical readers, but people who are able to verbalize their thoughts to me in a constructive way to make my story stronger.
Step 3 Status Report: Sort of started. Working on it.
I’ve begun seeking advice from The Wise Ones (authors I admire) about how they found their critique partners. Many of these same authors have had the same critique partners for over twenty years. This is not just a friendship, it’s a trustworthy teammate offering to do a JOB for you and provide expert advice to make my story appealing to the masses. It’s not just being someone who likes to read, it’s a real time-consuming and effort-filled job.
Some family members are/were teachers, so I do have that going for me. However, there is also a timing issue. I’m not going to just hand off my manuscript to someone who can’t respond to me within the scheduled time period. I want to get going on my next story and don’t want to lose momentum. I have work that I want to polish and get ready to submit to literary agents. I quit my job to pursue this life, and every day that I’m not writing or working towards getting my completed written work published is money out of my pocket.
Don’t get confused. I don’t do this for the money. I do this because I have a lot of stories and characters in my brain, asking me to share my work with the world. Even if it doesn’t reach anyone, I can’t stop their voices calling out how they want to break out of my mind and jump onto the page. Even if I become homeless, I will want to keep writing. Other than my family, it’s what I love, it’s what I wake up for, it’s what makes life exciting for me. However, I do want to share my writing with the world and I am committed to making my LOVE into my job. I’ve had countless jobs that weren’t in fields that I cared about. They were important fields, and I’m proud to have been part of the team that worked in those fields, but it’s not what I care about.
I want to make what I care about my daily work. A long time ago, when I started this blog, there was a major crevasse between my Daily Life and my Real Life. Well, I have had almost a year to make my Daily Life the product of my Real Life. Pilot allowed me to cut off the ties holding me back from crossing the bridge over that crevasse and live on the side where Daily Life = Real Life. However, this also means, I need to keep my butt in gear and focus on getting my story published.
What advice would you give (100%) newbie writers who know nothing about the business side?
How did you gain your Critique Partners?
Did Critique Partners start out as strangers or people you know?
How much time do you give someone to read your manuscript?
What instructions do you give your Critique Partners to guide them in the feedback you’re expecting?
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