Saturday, December 1, 2012

Whelp, it's all over, or has it really only just begun!?

So, NaNoWriMo 2012 is over and done with.  Whether you made it or not, you gave is a go, right?  That is huge!  Don't discount that.  Take pride in what you accomplished!  Whatever that happens to be.

The start of something new?  The first full draft on a working novel?  The first draft of a book that belongs in a series?

This, my friends, is more than  you would have done in November, without NaNoWriMo, right?  Right.  So, if you are able, you really should consider donating to the wonderful non-profit organization who helped us all get there.  Even if it's only $10, it goes a long way.  If everyone who participated donated just $10, the organization's yearly budget would be covered.

If you'd rather get something awesome WHILE helping them (buying something counts too!), there's lots of awesome stuff to pick out.  I'm loving my thermos and blue polo!

Anyway!  Let me take the time to tell you, no matter how far you got, WELL DONE!!!!!!!!  I applaud you. It isn't easy to take the time to really work on a project.

But the question is, what now?  Where do you go from here?

Is your first draft complete?  If not, get it there.

If it is complete?  Give it at least one or two reads over, preferably aloud to see how it reads...  then maybe let someone else who loves to read take a look at it.  Having people who enjoy reading and can give you useful feedback is wonderful!  Does this scene evoke emotion?  Should I leave the details in this scene or remove them?  Are there plot holes, things you might know but forgot to add in?  Are the characters relatable?  Likable?  Deliciously terrible?

If this is as far as you want to take it, or you just want to keep this for yourself, consider printing a copy at least just for yourself.  Your local office store should be able to help with printing services.  This is just for you, if for nobody else, and you should have at least one hard copy, even if it's just 11x9" bound with a plastic edger.  :)  You earned that much.

And if not, if you want to take it farther, how does one proceed?  You can consider the self publishing, small indie publisher, and large publishing houses debate widely.  Honestly, what is best for one book will not be best for another.  Some stories just don't fit into one genre well enough to get anywhere in a large house.  You might be better off with a smaller one or self publishing with certain stories.  There is no right answer for this, it really depends on the book itself.  But if you are considering publishing traditionally, I would suggest to start by sending work out to agents who help writers IN YOUR GENRE, and see if you can get someone to help you.  Finding someone who represents your writing and what you want it to be is the hard part, especially if you cross lines and do multiple genres in a single book.

I can't tell you where to go, that is something you need to figure out for yourself.  Google it.  Look for agents who help publish Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult (whatever genre), etc.  Look at what they want you to send to them.  And then send that.  Do NOT send the same thing to everyone.  They will not all want the same thing, and by ignoring their instructions up front, you will probably be brushed off as someone who would be difficult to work with.  Follow instructions, send out what they want, and then sit back and wait.  But please, please, for the love of all that is holy, be sure YOU edit your work yourself at least one or two times, FULLY read through it before you send it to anyone.

This is your baby, and you are proud of it.  Yes, that is GREAT!!!  But most works require a lot of work beyond the first draft.  You need to brush up the dialogue so it is not awkwardly hanging out there.  Make sure you're not missing big parts of the plot.  Be sure you have your grammar and spelling the best you can make it.  Sending work that has never been looked at?  Shame on you!  You should know better.  If you don't, I'm telling you now.

Take PRIDE in your work.  Take it seriously.  And when it's ready, others will too.

Best of luck!!!

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