Nanowrimo is over. The last dregs of online gatherings have dissipated into obscurity and many first timers are scratching their heads, asking: what do I do now?
As Christmas looms far too quickly for some (and not quick enough for the little people), newbie novel writers usually do one of three things:
1) Fiddle around with grammar and punctuation, hoping that the answers to the conundrum of what the hell this book is about magically reveal themselves, or that some published author or an agent/editor will discover the MS on an online writing site and come rescue the diamond in the rough. (Not going to happen.)
2) Fiddle around with grammar and punctuation, not caring if the answers to the conundrum of what the hell this book is about reveal themselves. This story magically landed into perfection during the creative process and as such deserves to bless (curse?) the world with its genius. Who needs an agent these days, anyway? The author hits the kindle ‘publish’ button and then wonders why it floats around like a great turd in the Amazon rankings pool while everyone else keeps their distance. No matter how many tweets they send and FB groups they join, no one will read it. Not even for free.
3) Decide it was a load of old shit, anyway, and who the hell are they to even try writing a novel? Hope dies, the MS lies dormant in the digital labyrinth of their hard drive and the story is but a mere regret occasionally reflected upon over a morning coffee (alongside a sharp pang of self-criticism).
We’ve all been there. (Well, not number 2. That one is reserved for either very brave or very self-deluded people.) And it takes a while to realise that the real magic happens in revision. Not just one revision – several. The deeper you go, the more the story reveals itself to you. The sooner you can get your head around the hard work that’s ahead, the better you will fare in producing a work that you are proud to tell the world about.
My best advice? Enjoy the lead up to Christmas. When you have a spare ten minutes here and there, learn about story structure. Read my post from last Sunday for some preparatory tips on novel revisions, and come back to this blog this Sunday coming for the next instalment of how to tackle that revision.
Don’t stress it until after Chrimbo.
See you Sunday!