Due to the recent posts, my blog has received a higher profile in the last few weeks, prompting readers to ask about writing. I apologize for answering via social media but most of the questions were repetitive and could easily be addressed here.
Where are you in the process of writing/submitting your book?
Two editors from two separate publishing houses have the manuscript in full - which is typically the last step once you land an agent. (I do not have an agent as of yet, that's an entirely different post).
What are your thoughts on NaNoWrimo?
I have a love/hate relationship with NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month - in November). I think it's a fantastic way to urge writers to do just that, write. It forced me to sit my butt down and churn out 50,000 words in a 30 day period. However, that churning is closer to word vomit than an actual story. Writers need to realize that a) 50,000 is not a complete novel. Depending on genre, you still have anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 more words and b) welcome to another year or so of editing and re-editing.
Do you have readers or a critique group?
Yes and yes.
I have friends who are not writers who read the manuscript (if you could even call my first draft a novel).
I am a big believer in quality critique groups - quality is the key word. A critique group isn't a cheer leading squad. The best groups give "tough love" and honest feedback. The entire goal of a critique group is to help each other become published. It's better to have your fellow writer tell you what's missing than an agent delete your submission (or offer a form rejection). You get one shot with agents/editors. If you're turned down by that one agent, you're done with his/her entire agency.
I've always wanted to write. Any suggestions on how to begin?
Become involved in a writers group.
If you're local (and even if you're not) check out Writers of Kern, or WOK for short. We are a professional writing group, the local chapter of California Writers Club (the very group founded by Jack London). The WOK board has proposed the following activities over the next few months all of which are included in the annual membership fee. The New Membership Application is available online as well. You do not have to live in Kern County to be an active member.
Critique Groups are an absolute must have for every writer. WOK provides an ever growing list of critique groups. Once a member you can subscribe to a group with openings or start your own WOK sponsored group.
If you're unsure about writing a novel but would like to hone your craft you can 1) enroll in our A-Z Blog Challenge starting on September 10th and/or 2) submit to our Fall Writing Contest.
Again, neither one limits your residency to Kern County.
For the entire month of November you will produce a minimum of 1,667 words per day. No editing. No researching (you can do that in the months preceding). Just pure writing, plus or minus copious amounts of caffeine.
30-day (intensive editing) bootcamp
The word vomit from NaNoWriMo will be sliced and diced into a smooth, seamless novel. From there, you're able to join the various critique groups for more feedback. If you do not live in Kern County, there are online and skype critique groups.
For February, March and April:
From Inspiration to Publication
From Inspiration to Publication
Spring 2015 for WOK members will look more like Publishing 101 and less like a "run of the mill" writing group. The know-how and how-to of publishing: query letter, pitch, proposal, genre, agents and editors will be covered in these months. Don't fret, this will be a step-by-step process.