All my life I've been a writer and aspired to be a novelist. I've started a novel with grand hopes, only to let them fizzle and die as I left it in the dust to pursue yet another novel. So never has that goal been attained.
NaNoWriMo, and its support group hundreds of thousands of people strong (plus my own smaller wonderful support group of family and friends), was the kick I needed to get a novel out. I passed the NaNo goal of 50,000 in thirty days on Saturday, four days early, and today on the thirtieth I finished the epilogue and now have a completed rough draft of Reaching Sky. It's a fairly short book at a current 55,783 words, but it is WRITTEN!
I think NaNo worked well for me, despite the rushed time limit and the "no major editing" rule. The story is rough with a lot of holes (like the cat I introduced in one scene, never to mention again... and the fact that I don't mention the main character's name, the weather, or the location in the whole first whole section... etc.) but it's definitely a very viable draft that has some strong parts.
You can read a short story based on the characters here, Eureka in Yreka, to get an idea of the book. My aim is to get this one published through a traditional publisher, so here are my goals for the next year:
- Go over the book again right now to add in all the scenes and details I remembered later but didn't have time to go back and put in during the competition.
- Let it sit at least a month without so much as a glance or a thought.
- Edit it with hopefully somewhat fresh eyes.
- Give it to two trusted writer friends to give me lots of constructive feedback.
- Write another draft based on that feedback.
- Give the new draft to another three or four people—a mix of writers and just readers.
- Rewrite it again.
- Send it to a professional editor for a polish.
- Send it to an agent!
- Probably more rewrites for agents and publishers.
- Have a publisher accept it! Woo!