Friday, December 9, 2011

If you didn't make 50k... don't feel bad

Because certain published authors didn't get there, either.

Patrick Rothfuss, the author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, posted on his blog about a week into November that he was doing NaNoWriMo.  It was a long post about how he had thumbed his nose at NaNoWriMo in previous years, and it seemed like his reasons for finally deciding to participate boiled down to, "The fuck I can't."

Recently he posted again, about how he had failed to reach 50k, which was quite funny because of how "riled up" (his own words) he was in the previous post.  He also posted about all the things he got out of participating.  As he put it, he wrote 35k that he might not have (or at least not all of it) if he hadn't participated.  He also said that he learned a lot, such as how much he can write in one hour, and that he doesn't need to block off three or four hours of time in order to get any writing done.

Great lessons, for all of us.

But really, don't feel bad if you didn't get to 50k.  The real success is that you wrote anything at all, which is likely more than you would have written otherwise.  And if it still really grates on you that you didn't make it to 50k, well, there is always next year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

To self-publish or not to self-publish

I believe I've mentioned that I intend on self e-publishing Ruby Ransome and Pandora's Box.  More recently I've come across a lot of pros and cons to taking that avenue, and I thought I'd share what I've been reading to help you follow my decision process.

First of all, there was a blog post from Dave Cullen, the author of Columbine, a few weeks ago about how to break into publishing.  The gist was basically: Put together a query, find an agent, and let them do the rest.

Then, just the other day, there was this post on Writer Beware: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.  It's fairly negative toward self-publishing, but mostly I think the post is trying to undermine the argument that many vanity publishers (particularly the expensive ones) try to sell you: that your odds of getting an agent (and, ultimately, getting published) are slim at best.

I understand that argument, I really do.  My biggest reasons for leaning toward self-publishing are: 1) I don't want to wait a year or longer to see my books in print when the vampire fiction/dark romance craze is going on right now, and 2) I want to maintain more control over my books (title, covers, website, promotion, etc.) than I would if I published traditionally.

What about you?  Are you planning on publishing your work, and if so, are you going to do it yourself or go the more traditional route?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The art of writing multiple books per year

Since I am writing a series, and planning on getting started on the next book right away, I found this blog post interesting: How Can You Write 4+ Books a Year and Maintain Quality Work?

The article isn't so much about how to maintain quality work, but how to set aside enough time to write a large number of books per year.  While making the point that the same thing isn't going to work for every writer, the blogger gives some advice on getting into a writing routine (setting aside time to write so many words per day), putting book releases and other milestones on your calendar, writing about stuff that excites you (so that you're more likely to want to get it done), and hiring editors so that you can focus on the writing part.

I agree with most of the stuff in the post.  Most obviously, if you're not excited enough to want to work on your novels every day, you should probably reconsider what you're writing — sounds like you're not cut out for it.  And getting into a routine is great advice — something that I think NaNoWriMo and similar challenges really help with.

Hiring an editor is also necessary, I think, especially if you are planning on self-publishing — but I don't think I would do what this author does, and hire people to do all the editing for me.  I think going through your own work and revising is necessary, especially since you might want to make huge changes to the story that an hired editor wouldn't or couldn't do.  I plan to do several rounds of revision myself on each one of my novels, and only then will I have an editor come through to do a final check for problems.

And even then, I will probably read through it one more time myself.

Churning out multiple books a year is definitely possible, and it's also possible to maintain quality while doing so.  But I do want to have a larger hand in revising and editing my own work, even if it means I finish fewer books per year.

What about you?  Coming right out of NaNoWriMo, I imagine a good number of my readers are "wrimos," but if you do write throughout the year (and not just in November), how many books do you typically finish in one year?  Or do you have a plan for how many you'd like to finish?

Friday, December 2, 2011

79,145 words: Finished?

Last night I finished the skipped scene in my novel, the one I had to go back and do after writing the ending.  It ended up being a few hundred words more than I thought it was going to be, but the first draft is still only 79,145 words — nearly a thousand short of my original goal of 80k.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I was hoping at one point that it would actually be a little longer, more like 90k.  I guess when I go back through and make revisions, one of the things I will be doing is looking for places where there is room for another scene or two.  I've been toying with a new idea for the denouement, one that would likely add a couple thousand words (and, in my opinion, possibly make it a little better — I feel like something is missing, like the last 10k of the novel is too rushed and doesn't pack enough of a punch, so to speak).

In any case, I'm going to set this aside and sit on it for a month or so, and then I'll begin revisions.  In the meantime, I am going to take a short break (to get caught up on other stuff) and then start researching Book 2.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Farewell, NaNoWriMo 2011

I am glad I won this year, but I sure am sad to see NaNoWriMo go.  We'll probably be having at least one TGIO (thank God it's over) party or meeting in the coming week or two, but I'm not really glad it's over — I loved how it kept me motivated throughout the month.  I don't know if I necessarily want or need to be writing 2,000 words or more every day on a regular basis, but it did get the job done.

Which reminds me — not only did I finish NaNoWriMo (i.e., got to 50k), but I also finished the novel (more or less).  I wrote 1,283 words Tuesday night and put an ending on it — not several thousand like I'd been hoping for, so I may actually complete the first draft just shy of 80k, but I can always expand later if it needs it.  I have one more scene to write — something I skipped over a few weeks ago, when I wasn't sure what to write, so I just skipped it and kept going — and last night I added 582 words of that scene.  Unfortunately, that was after midnight, so my final NaNo count stayed at 53,557.

Today I'll finish the skipped scene — perhaps a few hundred more words — and then I'll set the novel aside for a little while before I start revisions.  On the question of whether to start Book 2 right away, I've realized that I need to do a little more research anyway, since I'm going to be including some real events in the story, so I'm going to start on that next.

My husband had a good point: If I start on Book 2 before I start revisions of Book 1, I may realize where I want or need to make changes in the first book to make the story flow better, or to make something in Book 2 work better.  So I think, once I am done with the research, I will start writing Book 2, and see where it's going before I go back and make revisions on the first one.  I'm planning to start revisions sometime in January.

The good news is, if all goes well, I may be releasing Ruby Ransome and Pandora's Box sometime in the spring or early summer — if I stick with my original plan of self-publishing, of course, but at the moment I don't foresee that changing, since I want control over my own book covers (because of the 1920s images) and book promotion.

I'd love to hear from others.  How did NaNoWriMo go for you?  And do you have any plans to publish?