Posted on

What I’ve learned this year with Nano

This year, I had a few setbacks with figuring out which story I was going to work on.  Some years, I’ve forgotten to figure out a story until the last minute, but this year, I’d planned on doing the historical urban/dark fantasy, then I decided that wouldn’t be possible without me doing further historical research for the time period I want to write as well as for my heroine. So sadly I put that idea aside and struggled to pick a new one.  I was torn between one I’d like to do, and one that I’d just had sitting around that would be cool if I mustered up some enthusiasm.  Needless to say, I went with the one that I needed to muster up enthusiasm. 

Except for the fact my critique partner, Kinley Baker, went to a chat room pitch session through our RWA chapter FF&P, so I decided to tag along for support.  Long story short, at the last minute I was able to pitch to the editor as well, and I had one story I thought could pitched and gain some attention with her.  A story that Kinley said should be lengthened.  I ended up throwing out that I needed more enthusiasm on since the editor wanted a full and said it needed lengthened.  Now I’m working on that story.

So, the things I’ve learned.

  1. If you have a good critique partner, trust him/her, at least sometimes.  They should be looking out for you.  I pondered about lengthening my current novel, but I figured if I did, it’d be something I’d work on “one of these days.”  I didn’t expect to get interest and have that reiterated by an editor.
  2. Just because a story starts slow, and you’re wondering if maybe you should give it up, don’t give up on it yet.  My current story started a little slow, and it’s involving a little more science than I’d like.  But I kept with it and am super thrilled with the story.
  3. Speaking of the science, just because you notice an element in your story that you feel uncomfortable with, don’t try to eradicate it.  Try to figure out how it can work to your advantage and make your world that much more unique.
  4. This one especially pertains to Nano.  If you feel like you’re getting stuck with a certain scene, write out some of it and leave yourself a note on what you think should happen there.  And move on.  Last night, I stumbled upon I scene in the Hero’s POV I knew needed to be there, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what else he should do.  So I wrote what I could, and I went back to the Heroine who was being especially interesting to write.
  5. And lastly, it is important to make sure what you’re writing isn’t illegible to you.  Don’t feel in such a rush that you can’t write clearly.  It doesn’t have to be perfect prose, this is a first draft after all, but I’ve gone through in previous years and rushed.  Sometimes, I was left with a good sentence that had an illegible word that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out, so I had to throw out what I’d written.
I hope any of these help! If you’re curious, I’m currently working on a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance, and my current word count is 9,035. =)