Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I may have previously mentioned NaNoWriMo but I am unsure if I have, when I did, and to what length I described it so bear with me while I talk to you a bit about NaNoWriMo now.
I LOVE NaNoWriMo. I have been writing with NaNoWriMo since 2017 and have since written 164,908 words of my Once Upon a Tome Series. I know because they keep track of it.
NaNoWriMo is an organization that encourages writers to sit down and write. The abbreviation stands for National Novel Writing Month. Officially, the "national novel writing month" is November when they really get together to encourage writers to write a 50,000 word novel in the confines of the month, providing videos of authors to cheer writers on, times set aside for "writing sprints" and more.
I have participated twice.
November of 2017 I finished the first draft of my novel The Servant. (it will be the fourth novel in the Once Upon a Tome Series).
You will never see that draft. It is terrible and it would have been just bout the worst way to start a series of fairy tale twists that I would like to think are original. I mean, come on, starting with Cinderella? I don't know that I would have gotten very far with that.
November of 2019, I finished my first draft of The Criminal which will be the first book in the Once Upon a Tome Series.
It topped out at 91,000 words give or take.
Now while you won't ever see that draft, the novel I hope to publish someday in the next five years (fingers crossed but I am not crazy enough to think that the process is fast especially after having self-published a book now) will look a lot more like that first draft than the draft of The Servant will ever look like its counterpart.
Thing is, I have gotten slack about writing. I haven't been motivating myself, encouraging myself, and creating goals for myself for this novel like I should have been. I haven't been pushing myself to finish it even though I knew where I wanted to take it. What was holding me back? I don't know but I am not letting it hold me back anymore.
My new goal: by beginning of NaNoWriMo 2021 I want to have The Criminal finished and edited to the point of sending it off to agents. NaNoWriMo 2021 I am no longer working on The Criminal I am moving on to The Beauty.
So how do I get there?
Great question. Don't worry. I have a plan.
It has 5 steps.
STEP 1. Rewrite the "present" timeline.
You may not know but my books all have two separate timelines. While I am, for the most part, proud of the direction that the "past" timeline takes in The Criminal (which, if I did not make it clear in this or another post is the twisted story of Goldilocks) I recognized after reading through my first draft that the "present" timeline needed to be rewritten almost entirely to make more sense with the book and series as a whole. This, therefore is the first step. My goal is to finish this step by end of April,
STEP 2. Edit the "past" timeline
The "past" timeline may not need the level of edits that the "present" timeline does but that does not mean it lacks the need for edits and rewrites. The largest need for these chapters is more description of characters and places but there is a great need for some of the chapters to be rewritten or edited as well. I plan to have this section done about 2 months following the finish of my first step (so end of June hopefully).
STEP 3. Edit, Edit, Edit
Every book needs to be thoroughly edited. The first two steps will help me to create a The Criminal draft two but I will also need to thoroughly edit the novel, including involving friends to help me spot the issues with it that I could not spot myself. I plan to Edit each chapter, make notes on it where I am unsure, leave it to sit, and come back to it after editing other chapters. I plan to finish this step by end of October, leaving only a few days for the final, following steps.
STEP 4. Query Letters and Manuscripts
Each agent that I query will be different and I have already begun to compile a list of agents to query and what I will need to do so. Querying agents usually requires sending them a query letter and a piece or the entirety of the manuscript usually in a particular format. These must be set up and set aside beforehand to be checked for any more errors.
STEP 5. Query.
And the unwritten step 6 of course is move on, write The Beauty during NaNoWriMo while I wait the 3-9 months to hear back from agents about my book. I expect rejection letters. Lots of them. I wouldn't query more than one agent if I didn't. But I can't wait for the process.