It’s the first of November, meaning thousands upon thousands of writers are now busy scribbling their first draft of the next best-selling novel to hit the bookshelves (or website, these days.) And I’m one of them.
And I wish us all the luck in the world. For finishing a project of this magnitude already separates you from 90 percent of those who claim the moniker writer. It’s one thing to write; it’s another to say you have a completed work. I’ve lost count as to how many agents have a statement on their submission page saying something akin to will only consider completed novels.
Shouldn’t that be a given?
And likewise, remember the Nanowrimo novel is just a first draft. And by that I mean it will not be ready to send to a publisher or agent on December 1st. Just don’t do it. And don’t wait and send on December 2nd, either.
It’s a first draft, people. There will be a second, probably a third. And more. Be ready to spend months possibly years tweaking, revising, scrapping, rewriting, scrapping again, and everything in between before your novel is actually good enough to publish. If you don’t want to put in this work, or don’t think you need to, then you are either a naturally gifted author or one of the tens of thousands of people who put crap up for sale on the Internet.
Don’t be that person.
So keep writing. Finish the draft. Get the cool Nanowrimo perks for being a 50k winner. Then give it a rest for a few weeks and come back later to read your book with fresh eyes. Do some revision. Get some beta readers. Revise some more. Heck, Stephen King gives his first draft about six weeks to rest before he even looks at it again. For an interesting read on his habits, along with other writers, check out Karen Woodward’s blog post on how many drafts it takes to write a novel.
And send a Christmas card to all of the agents you had originally wanted to query on December 1st. Don’t expect anything in return. Just be a nice person. Someday your kindness may come back to you ten-fold. Who knows?
But whatever you do, don’t begin your novel on a dark and stormy night. Which, looking outside, is exactly what I have going on here. Oh well, tomorrow’s a new day.
1,913 words down. Many, many more to go!