Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

So another NaNo has come and (almost) gone. If you are still working, get to it! *cracks whip* If you're done, congratulations. Honestly though, congrats to everyone who took on the challenge. Even if you didn't "win", I hope you still ended up with words. I "won" a couple days ago and I'm now trying to put the finishing touches on the draft since my editor really seems like she wants it...yesterday.

Here's the thing though. I'm not sending it to her yet.

The only person who has seen more than little snippets of this piece (those are available on the Blood Kissed Facebook page--I'd love it if you liked me there) is my incredibly awesome alpha-reader, Katee. She's been one of my betas since my second novel, and she gets me like no one else. This time she stepped up to the plate and has been reading Kiss of Death in it's most raw form so that once I'm done with the draft, I can revise with a plan in mind. Which means I can get it to the crazy people who are willing to speed-beta for me hopefully by the weekend. And then I can revise again next week and get it to my publisher.

Some of you are probably shaking your heads and saying, "OMG, is she nuts?" To which I answer, "Yes. Yes, I am." I wouldn't normally work like this. My usual course of action is to finish the draft, let it sit for a couple weeks, revise, then if I'm okay with it, send it to betas. As often as not though, I still don't think it's ready for them and I'll let it sit longer and revise again before sending to them. Then, with their feedback in hand, I revise again (maybe more than once). So normally, after the rough is done, it's a minimum of a month before I send it out to agents/editors. Did I mention minimum?

So while I am demonstrating that the usual way doesn't always work (crazy deadlines), my methods are still similar. I'm still doing revise, beta, revise before I send it out, because I don't want people in charge to see something that isn't the best I can make it (in the time allowed).

And you shouldn't either. I know I have readers here who aren't published yet. I know a zillion people did NaNo this year. And what I want to tell you is your stuff is not ready to send. The big-time authors I know who do NaNo don't send their NaNo drafts to their agents/editors, and none of us should either. Every manuscript needs some sort of real critique before it gets sent out, and every manuscript needs revision (beyond spell-check, though that's important too).

Every year agents complain about the amount of unpolished NaNo work they get every December/January. Don't be part of the problem. Revise it until it's shiny. Do your homework on agents and how to query. Do everything you can to make it as perfect as possible.

And for heavens sake, don't follow my example this year. Remember: I'm nuts.

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