NaNoPrep & Querying: Preparation Is Key
Original image from NaNoWriMo.org
This year I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and querying my 2019 novel. I’ve learned that preparation leads me to success. Everyone has their own way of doing things, especially with writing, but this is mine.
In previous NaNoWriMo years, and camps, I found that when I planned out a general idea of the plot and my characters. It helped me get the words onto the page. Sometimes I look at other ways people plan their stories to figure out a plan, but this year, I used the NaNoPrep materials to work out my plans. I found them really useful. I also made Google sheet that includes my chapters with short summaries, and a space to count the words for each chapter, as well as the total all the words of my manuscript. This is something I created for my 2019 novel with much success. This is another way I keep track of my writing. It also has helped to participate in virtual writing sprints, especially with the local writers in my region. I look forward to doing that again this November. It’s even more important that NaNoWriMo will go all virtual this year as a way to keep everyone safe.
I’ve received feedback on my query for my 2019 novel. Some things I had an idea that I needed to improve upon. The first part is that I don’t normally send email queries. I send out queries via the QueryTracker forms. This provides me a way to view what the agent is requesting and fill out exactly what they are looking for. For the #RevPit #10Queries raffle, I had to submit a sample of an email query. So in that case, I thought it would be good to include a bit more than I normally would for the letter portion. It also mentioned that I needed to do more showing versus telling, in my sample pages, which is feedback I’ve received previously and thought I fixed. The most important parts of the feedback was to understand that I’ve been querying my novel in not the quite right genre, and how to revise my query letter and first pages. The feedback for my query as well as others (which you can see on Twitter with the hashtags) also gave me a better idea of what is expected in traditional publishing, especially as I move forward with querying, but also with my own novel writing.
I knew things about publishing before from reading and other experiences, but the querying experience is quite like teaching, you are able to deeply understand and learn when you experience it. As like writing, it’s about experimenting and practicing that skill. I look forward to seeing how my querying and writing improves next month. Even if I end up self-publishing my 2019 novel, I’ve learned a lot. I want to keep trying to publish my writing in anyway that I can.
On another note, I got a chance to write a fanfic in October, which was the longest fanfic I’ve ever written. It was the 20th anniversary of Gilmore Girls, and I had to write my version of the continuation of A Year In The Life (Netflix revival mini series). It was a good practice for my writing skill ahead of NaNoWriMo. In November, I’ll be focusing my original writing, but I think it will be improved also because of this.
Happy NaNoWriMo to my fellow writers! Don’t forget to reward yourself from time to time, after writing a good amount. I’m going to have the new Hallmark movie, ‘Holly & Ivy,’ as a reward on the first day for making good progress in starting my next novel. I’ll update my blog when I can in November, or at least afterwards.