Life after NaNoWriMo: A guide for aspiring writers

How are YOUR NaNoWriMo stories going? I see a lot of my writing friends and acquaintances are powering through for the “win” and will no doubt have a great first draft come the end of the month. But then what?
What ever you do – DO NOT QUERY!

I’ve seen the agents on Twitter bracing for the onslaught in December of “I’ve just finished my NaNoWriMo project and I thought I’d query you…”

AHHHHH! When did competing in NaNoWriMo give people a licence to throw query etiquette out the window?

So inspired by a tweet from agent Suzie Townsend here are a few things for you to remember for November and the upcoming months:

November: Don’t forget this is also NaNoAlphaMo. Send it to your alpha reader for feedback and inspiration as you write (I have already done this and it doubled my word count).

December: NaNoReviseMo (love ya work Suzie). Go through your first draft with a fine tooth comb looking for improvements, not just for copy editing but also characters, plot and dialogue. Note December is also NaAgentsBusyMo and not a good time to query in general.

January: NaNoBetaMo. Get your second draft to your Beta Editor for some friendly editing and feedback. I am blessed with a couple of Beta Editors – who I love to bits.

February: NaNo2ndReviseMo. Go through your Beta Editors comments and rework your story into a third draft. Depending on how you work this may be enough revision to have a great novel. But you can keep bouncing back with your Beta & Alpha editors if you think can refine your work even more.

March: NaNoQueryMo! Time to query, but only if you think your novel is in the BEST condition it can be. Realistically it may be many more months into the year before you are ready.

On a personal note from me: my NaNoWriMo went out the window with a phone call – the worst phone call of my life. My friends and blog followers know my dad was ill with terminal cancer. On 1 November at 1.30pm (& 400 words into my NaNoWriMo project) my dad passed away and I basically stopped writing. I dropped everything to race to my mother’s side, some 900km away. While I was away I did write a flash fiction, The first night without you here, to help me deal with the fall out of Dad’s death.

I have started back on my NaNoWriMo project Dirty Rainbow; even though I know I am in no position to “win” this year. I’m rather excited because it’s a Utopian story, something I’ve never tried before.

I want to thank all my virtual friends on Twitter, Facebook and Inkpop who have given me support in the months after we found out about Dad’s cancer and since his passing. It is easy to feel alone at times like this but you all made sure I felt anything but alone.

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