Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tips: Because A Rough Draft is Just the Beginning

Two days ago I started seeing Tweets from folks mentioning the flood of manuscripts that will be sent to agents and publishers now that NaNoWriMo has ended. It seems this constitutes an annual flood. And this is one reason why I personally won't submit anything to anyone in the month of December. Tempers will be frayed because the slush pile will be deeper than normal. And I don't wanna get caught in the sights of an overtired agent or editor who may pass on my story because they can't give it a little time to roll around in their heads.

I responded to the Twitter concerns with the following list. NaNoWriMo winners, I hope you heed my words...

NaNoWriMo Madness: Give yourself the best chance you can before submitting and follow these tips...

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #1: Regardless of how naturally high the completion of 50K+ makes U, do NOT send UR manuscript 2 agents or pubbers too soon!

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #2: Set your manuscript aside for at least two solid weeks to break you mentally free of what you've written.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #3: During your 2 week break from your manuscript, research agents and publishing houses you'd like to submit to.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #4: After the 2 week break from your manuscript is up, open that doc and read your novel straight through--out loud.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #5: As you read straight thru (aloud) only pause 2 mark troublesome things w/ a sticky note. Keep reading. Get overall feel.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #6: Step away from your manuscript again for a day. Mull over the overall feel of your manuscript. Does it hit home with you?

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #7: After taking that break, return to the manuscript and sticky notes. Edit. Revise/rewrite.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #8: Take another break of a day or two. Then reread manuscript with new edits, etc. Yes. Out loud. Again.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #9: If there are additional tweaks, cool. Make them. Then send it to betas/CPs (heard critters.org is good 4 finding them).

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #10: While CPs/betas are reading, consider your query and synopsis. Research what your desired pubber/agent wants.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #11: Honestly consider what advise/comments your CPs/betas have for you upon return of their notes.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #12: Edit/revise/rework accordingly, but stay true to your story.

NaNoWriMo Triumph Tip #13: Send exactly what the agent/pubber you are courting wants, in the form they want it. Then wait patiently for a response.

A fellow author and Tweeter, C.D. Reimer suggested: "
The final tip should be start working on something else while waiting. :)" He makes a good point. Although I didn't have much time between winning Textnovel.com and getting picked up by St. Martin's Press some publishers will expect you to wait for up to six months for a response about your story. Getting other things lined up (and getting things generally in order again after a writing and editing blitz) is a great endeavor during that potential downtime.

Good luck NaNo-ers!


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Why would anyone who wrote their NaNo WIP send it out right away without revising? Plus with the craziness of the holidays, no agent or publisher has the time.

Wait until the Spring and make it pretty. That's my plan!

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds great advice, and I'll remember to avoid sending stuff out in December even though I didn't do Nano.

Shannon Delany said...


I'm TOTALLY with you on this--that's why I was so stunned when I started seeing people announce on the 29th that they had sent their NaNo out to 6 agents already "to beat the rush."

I wanted to cry for that girl, thinking: That's 6 agents you probably will never get a request from. :(

I hope NaNo helps us discover new great books, but in order for that to happen, time and care must be taken.

My NaNo's waiting until February for me to re-attack!

Shannon Delany said...


I agree. December's a no-go month for me now.

I enjoyed NaNoWriMo (didn't take as much advantage of it as I wanted to) and may do it again next year. But submit in Decemeber? Not facing that flood!