April is over and with it Camp NaNoWriMo, which means it’s time for another progress report. I hoped to jump into something new this month but ended up rewriting something old instead.
If I don’t polish finished material, I’ll never get to the querying stage and while part of me knows that I’m hiding from rejections, the other part is aware that by doing this I’m also hiding from success.
My goal in 2017 is to improve my writing by exercising daily, which means I’m attempting to write a thousand words every day. I’ve got a second goal though: send out my work and send it out again straight away after each rejection.
The first goal is going well. I’ve only missed three days so far this year. I was sick one day, frankly too tired on another day and just last week I suffered from a bad migraine. Each time I felt guilty and thought about sitting down anyway, open a document and just write down whatever comes to mind.
However, I reminded myself that my goal is to improve. Writing down ‘my head hurts’ roughly 300 times definitely wouldn’t help me improve and that’s all I would have managed the other day.
The second goal… well… I’m getting there.
Just like in March, I’ve taken a look at my progress this year so far. What have I written? How much of it is useable? Am I improving?
Or am I wasting my time?
I’m definitely improving. It feels a lot easier each day to just sit down and get words onto a page.
So far in 2017 I have finished the first draft of a psychological suspense novel and edited a children’s fantasy I’d written a couple of years ago.
Let’s look at the suspense novel first. The first draft has about 40K words, but some of the chapters are very rough summaries of what is supposed to happen without any description added just yet. I realised towards the end that I needed to make quite a few changes to the beginning of the novel and hence the last few chapters might turn out quite differently.
Instead of fleshing out the last few chapters, I wrote a detailed outline for my writing group and presented them with a chapter by chapter description of the plot. Thanks to the feedback I received from everyone, I was able to add more meat to the bone and managed to make crucial changes to some of the characters and story development. I feel like I have a much stronger outline, with raised stakes and additional conflict. I plan to write the 2nd draft of this novel somewhere between now and the end of June and I hope to reach 70K words.
The children’s fantasy is finally approaching the stage where I feel confident enough to start the querying process. I’ve rewritten it at least 3 times and I gave it several thorough polishes.
Additionally, I’ve put together a few character biographies for short stories I plan to write in a post-apocalyptic setting. Who knows, maybe they’ll turn into novellas or maybe even into a set of novels. For now they’re extensive character biographies I can use in future stories.
I have shared some of my older shorts with my writing group and am polishing those after receiving feedback and will start sending them out to magazines.
In May I plan to rewrite my first novel, Crossing Over, which is essentially a contemporary novel with a science fiction twist. I hope to get it ready to begin querying agents by June.
It’ll be a busy summer.
How’s your writing year going?
See you next week,