Getting the Lead Out

In My Writing on October 27, 2013 at 9:06 am

As October comes to an end, many of you are gearing up to begin National Novel Writing Month. Although I won’t be joining in on the mad scribbling, I’ll be participating indirectly. Sort of. But maybe not really. You see, I participated back in 2010 (and won with 50,006 words. woo!). I worked for the next two years to edit the fruits of my labour, which was quite a task.

50,006 words!

50,006 words!

NaNoWriMo is a heady and intense experience and I’m so glad that I did it. It got me into the habit of writing every day and I’ve been more disciplined with my writing since then. However, the problem with scribbling your entire novel with your internal editor switched off is that it can be massively difficult to go back over it once November ends and make something coherent out of it. Hence, the two years.

Last December, I finished it up and sent it off to a competition (that I didn’t win, by the way). I had worked on my story so much that I was pretty sick of it by then. Once I sent it off, I started working on ideas for the novel I’m working on now. I’ve been researching, outlining and dabbling in writing the actual story during 2013.

But all of a sudden, a switch has been flipped. All of a sudden I want to go over my first story. After all, I have 88k words just sitting there not doing anything. I would really like to try to get it published. So, last night I started reading it again with a view to cleaning it up and filling in any potential plot holes so that I can send it off to literary agencies/publishers.

Let me stop you before anyone mentions self-publishing. This isn’t a path I’m interested in at the moment. Perhaps in the future, if I don’t have luck with publishers. We’ll see how I feel about it then. For now, it’s not an avenue I’d like to travel.

As I was reading my story last night I kept thinking that it was ok. There were times when it actually felt like I was reading a novel. That’s probably a good thing.

The problem is that no one else has read it. Ever. Not even the hubs. I’m not sure if the people I submitted it to read it as I wasn’t sent any confirmation that they had even received it. This means that I have absolutely no idea as to its readability.

Once I’ve read it and let my husband read it, I’ll be looking for beta readers so if you think you’d be interested in that kind of thing please keep it in the back of your mind. (I’m not quite ready for anyone else to read it just yet.)

It’s actually terrifying to think of people reading my book, which is silly because books are meant to be read. However, I suffer from self-doubt in a big way. Sometimes it’s almost crippling. Why on earth would I think that anyone would want to read what I’ve written? It probably isn’t very good. Who do I think I am, trying to foist my work on an unsuspecting public?

You get the idea.

These are hurdles I’m trying to get over. (Although I’d be much happier if I could just effortlessly walk around them…)

Anyway, I shall continue reading my work today and I’ll let you know how it goes. I definitely think that it’s time for this story to come out of hiding and I finally feel ready to tackle it. I’m going to do my best to put myself out there even though I’d rather hug my precious pages to myself and hide under the covers.

On a completely different note, last night my husband came home from work with a present for me. Behold!

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter.

This is exactly why I married him. I’ve only read up to page 36 so far, but oh, the giggles! Obviously, this book is best read if you have seen (and liked) Star Wars. That’s all I’ll say for now. I’ll be doing a blog post on this book once I’ve finished it.

It makes me chuckle to think of the looks I’ll be getting when I read this on the tube tomorrow! I’m sure I’ll be giggling all the way to work.

  1. Oh my dear lord. You should know I’m champing at the bit.

  2. I self-published a mystery novel 13 years ago. I LOVE to read and mysteries are my favorite genre and I wanted to be an author, too, just to maybe participate in that world of writing that has done so much for me. I enjoyed the process and that was enough for me. My friends and family read it and I was satisfied, having met all my modest goals – I finished it, it made reasonable sense, and there is printed matter with my name on the cover!

    Your situation is different. It sounds to me that you are on your way to something very worthwhile. I wish you the best of luck and success. I’d be happy to read it if you need more volunteers.

    • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against self-published novels. I just want to try it the traditional way first. I can’t imagine myself being up to self-marketing. I want someone else to do that for me. Also, any time I go into a book store, I have a look to see where my book would be on the shelf. 😀

      Thank you for your offer of reading it. I will most likely take you up on that if you are still willing when the time rolls around.

      • For me, a hobbyist, I think self-publishing was great – under what it’s also called, vanity publishing, exactly described my situation! But I’m not a writer with real credentials as you are. What I wanted to say was I think you are totally right in seeking a publisher and it seems you surely must have a good chance. I hope for a good outcome and many readers!

      • Oh my. I’m not sure if I have ‘real credentials’ (though you’re incredibly sweet to say so!) but I get what you’re saying. We have different goals for our writing. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. You’re lovely. 🙂

      • Yes, that’s it, and I will say that my own effort gave me a whole different appreciation for what it takes to write a novel (or anything, really). So I have felt as a reader it’s very important to recognize what each author has to do to get a book into the hands of others, all the stages, not just writing it. So thanks for listening and I hope you keep up your reviews, too, as I have learned of some great books I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

      • I’m realising it’s a huge effort to produce a novel too. That’s why I don’t do negative reviews unless the book is actually offensive. I don’t have the heart to rip into someone’s work when they’ve put their soul into it. I’ll definitely be keeping up my reviews. I don’t actually have any real-life friends who like books as much as I do. That’s why I love blogging so much. I’ve had so many fun conversations with other book lovers like you! Thank you so much for reading!

  3. Good luck with the editing/ reworking – it will be worth it, I’m sure. As for the Shakespearean Star Wars, I need to get a copy for my classroom!!!!

  4. There are some great sites out there to help hone your skills. Depending on genre of course. But Scribophile has been really good for me. Even if you’re not too sure about sharing it with everyone, you can make friends there and share in a group setting 🙂 at least it would be getting it ‘out’ there in one sense, and you’ll get a good idea of how publishable it really is. Editing is tough going, another set of eyes always helps.

  5. That is an awesome present! Good to know that NaNoWriMo worked out for you as I’m giving it a shot this year. Good luck with your story and when you’re ready for beta readers you know where to find me! 🙂

  6. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo a few times but never finished, because I always go into it trying to get a new work done, while my old work waits for me. And my old work is an impatient thing. I think I’ve never gotten past the tenth day before I’ve given up and gone back to my series.

    But I do try to count my progress during November (when I’m in writing mode rather than editing), so I’ll see if I can hit the word-count this year.

    As for beta reading, I’d be up for it. Erica and I go over each other’s stuff through shared Google Docs, to comment and re-comment in real-time, so that’s something to consider. I know you liked her book, and though you haven’t read mine (unless it’s the one you stalled on, in which case I’ll go cry in a corner now), I’d be happy to edit and analyze like I did with her. 😀

    • It sounds like a great idea trying to hit the word count even though not officially participating in NaNo. I was reading my work this weekend and cringing because there are some serious issues with it.

      I like the idea of google docs. I might have to try that.

      I still haven’t read your book yet so please don’t cry. I can’t imagine stalling on your book considering the amount of detail you put into it! Thank you for your offer; I’ll definitely take you up on your offer. Thanks!

  7. I so want that book! But no SA retailer is stocking it and Amazon’s shipping fees here is more than the actual book (and I’d prefer to have it on paper).

    You can add me to your list of potential beta readers, but not during November 😉

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