Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress

Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby BetweenTwoWorlds » 23 Nov 2010, 16:03

Finished my second novel for NaNo at 72,000 words. YA genre set in the 50s.

Now what?

I've written one other novel (smothered in a drawer somewhere) & countless short stories, but this is one I want to turn into a published-by-a-real-publisher novel.

Here's what I'm planning to do:
1. Give it a few weeks before I do anything about it.
2. Print it & then read through it, noting plot holes & character problems in general.
3. Write missing scenes
4. Rewrite scenes that are in conflict with other scenes
...
X. work through the book scene by scene to rewrite for clarity, character development, and story arc.
Y. Submit to a few close friends for a first read
Z. Get feedback and start on a second edit.

What do you suggest I do before step "X"?
At what point do you think it's a good idea to submit to trusted readers for feedback?

Suggestions welcomed.
----------------------
WIP1-4: Dead, and buried, and lost in time
WIP5: Finished, but hidden in a drawer
WIP6: 72k YA/MG. Working on 3nd edit.
User avatar
BetweenTwoWorlds
 
Posts: 33
Joined: 23 Nov 2010, 15:55

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby sarahdee » 23 Nov 2010, 21:22

That sounds like a full strategy.

I have a close friend who is a bit useless at picking up on small things (so its no good asking her to proofread a polished draft) but she is good at big character and plot questions - she will tell me if something doesn't work or one of the characters she just doesn't get and I find it useful to send her an early draft as the sort of comments I get from her are good to bear in mind as I edit scenes and dialogue (so before your part X).

But it depends on your readers - I am lucky in having her. My other readers tend to spend too much time nit picking the small things which is great when its in final stages and you've edited yourself but since I know I will reedit and check myself I would wait until its polished before sending to them.
User avatar
sarahdee
 
Posts: 140
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 18:48

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby HillaryJ » 23 Nov 2010, 21:49

I actually suggest getting at least one "big picture" reader in as soon as you can (someone who will understand they aren't looking at a perfect manuscript) to identify deficiencies or confusion that you can't. As the writer and someone who understands the motivation and world of your novel, it is sometimes surprising what others see when they read it. Why would you do this, you ask? Why potentially embarrass yourself by showing a friend or writing partner an incomplete draft?

Because revising is difficult. I don't mean tightening and polishing. I mean moving a character's entire timeline to bring them in earlier or make them appear more consistently through a book. I mean making a secondary plot thread more visible or removing it altogether. These are the things an excellent beta reader can bring to your attention, and the sooner they do so, the less disruptive it will be to correct.
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hillaryjacques
CARNIEPUNK - http://books.simonandschuster.com/Carni ... 1476714158
as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press
User avatar
HillaryJ
 
Posts: 434
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 17:22
Location: Alaska

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby Leonidas » 24 Nov 2010, 09:15

My novel won't be done at the end of November. Right now, I'm at 43,356 words and I haven't gotten to the real meat of the story yet. That's because I started writing ten years before the main plot takes place, which wasn't my best idea, but without having written those scenes I wouldn't know they aren't important. I'll probably chop most of what I've written, but they were magical as character exercises and developing backstories. Now I know the backstories, I won't have to write them out in entirety for the second draft.

That said, I have at least one good friend who demands to read everything I've written so far, and I value her opinion pretty highly, so I'll be sending everything to her, chapter by chapter, when I'm done. I plan on being done (if I keep up NaNo pace) sometime in the middle of December. I can rely on this friend both as a "big picture" reader in the beginning and a details reader later on in the process, but I also have a couple other people I'm going to send it out to when it's a rewritten second draft.

Basically, this is my plan:

1. Finish writing it in December.
2. Give myself a week off.
3. Print it out (doublesided to feel better about killing trees) and read it myself.
4. Email the version that I printed out to my friend and let her read it chapter by chapter.
5. Begin to rewrite it, chapter by chapter, with both my notes and her suggestions.

6. Hopefully get it rewritten and polished to a point where I don't feel like a failure if I send it to Createspace to get a proof copy for winning NaNo in July.
User avatar
Leonidas
 
Posts: 99
Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 08:35
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby Louise Curtis » 26 Nov 2010, 14:38

I heard a surprisingly brilliant talk at a con recently. Rebecca Johnson said she doesn't have her readers actually read an early draft - because everyone knows that once a story is written down, it's hard to change (so they're too merciful, even when they don't mean to be). Instead she tells her story aloud, in detail. Suddenly her betas say, "But that doesn't make sense" or "That's not like she behaved earlier on" or "Why didn't your hero just. . . ?"
Louise Curtis
Twitter Tales @Louise_Curtis_
Writing Tips, Steampunk, Baby Talk, and Daily Awesomeness http://twittertales.wordpress.com
Louise Curtis
 
Posts: 88
Joined: 24 Sep 2010, 16:48
Location: Canberra, Australia

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby BetweenTwoWorlds » 29 Nov 2010, 12:23

Louise Curtis wrote:(S)he tells her story aloud, in detail. Suddenly her betas say, "But that doesn't make sense" or "That's not like she behaved earlier on" or "Why didn't your hero just. . . ?"


Love this idea. May try it on my selected reader group.
----------------------
WIP1-4: Dead, and buried, and lost in time
WIP5: Finished, but hidden in a drawer
WIP6: 72k YA/MG. Working on 3nd edit.
User avatar
BetweenTwoWorlds
 
Posts: 33
Joined: 23 Nov 2010, 15:55

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby BetweenTwoWorlds » 29 Nov 2010, 12:25

HillaryJ wrote:Because revising is difficult. I don't mean tightening and polishing. I mean moving a character's entire timeline to bring them in earlier or make them appear more consistently through a book. I mean making a secondary plot thread more visible or removing it altogether. These are the things an excellent beta reader can bring to your attention, and the sooner they do so, the less disruptive it will be to correct.


These are excellent ideas. Of course, it is a problem of finding that reader...
----------------------
WIP1-4: Dead, and buried, and lost in time
WIP5: Finished, but hidden in a drawer
WIP6: 72k YA/MG. Working on 3nd edit.
User avatar
BetweenTwoWorlds
 
Posts: 33
Joined: 23 Nov 2010, 15:55

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby bcomet » 29 Nov 2010, 13:11

My plan is to put it down until after the holidays (you should have seen my house and hair in November. no. you shouldn't.).
(I will be torn if I try to juggle both: NANOWRIMO must end.)

And then in January, my schedule is:

Mon-Thurs: write two pages or one scene - something- but try to further the novel for two pages or 700 words as a minimum daily goal for these four days each week

Friday: options: keep writing/edit/review/or walk away from it, clear my head
Sat: same as Fri.
Sun: no writing

I have approximately 30-40,000 more words after NANOWRIMO to finish the first draft. At the rate of the above adjusted schedule, I will have a life again and room to grow the novel and the first draft will be complete in one to three months. It will get finished!

(The above schedule works for me in other projects but instead of a two page goal, I only tell myself to just open it up Mon-Thurs and work on it daily, even if it's just a bit and every time I open it up, something happens and often more than just a bit.)

Then, when the first draft is done, a couple of weeks away from it and then the same schedule substituting rereading and mapping out the synopsis as I read.

Then, another week or so off (things germinate/fresh eyes/etc.) then same schedule working from the synopsis on plot holes, and editing or rewriting.

Repeat until I get that feeling and then bring to my writing group. I bake for them, serve chocolate, ice cream. They will need sustenance.

Try to survive the shock when it still needs more work and I am expecting garlands. Thank critique group. They are golden in helping me become a better writer and polishing my manuscript.

Try not to burn manuscript.

Germinate on critique suggestions.

Rewrite on same Mon-Thurs. schedule.

It works for me.

My BIG problem is sticking with the ONE project and not walking away.

...which is why having a coach or group or NANOWRIMO or something to keep my foot to the fire
is such a blessing and help.
bcomet
 
Posts: 581
Joined: 23 Jan 2010, 12:11

Re: Post-Nano: Successful Strategies

Postby BetweenTwoWorlds » 29 Nov 2010, 14:00

Try not to burn manuscript.


Best.
Line.
Ever.
----------------------
WIP1-4: Dead, and buried, and lost in time
WIP5: Finished, but hidden in a drawer
WIP6: 72k YA/MG. Working on 3nd edit.
User avatar
BetweenTwoWorlds
 
Posts: 33
Joined: 23 Nov 2010, 15:55


Return to All Things Writing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 2 guests