NO, not the end of this blog, although my infrequent posting may have indicated otherwise.
I typed THE END a few days ago when I finished my manuscript revisions. I fought the urge to change to a fancy font and use a different color, purple or green perhaps, and just typed it the regular way.
And wow, did it feel good.
I thought I’d post some stats for anyone who is interested in what the process of writing a novel was like for me.
Word count: 77,293.
Number of months to write first and second drafts: approximately 7
Number of months to revise. approximately 4
Number of beta readers (so far): 2
Number of beta readers who are waiting to read the manuscript: approximately 7
Genre: commercial women’s fiction, written in an alternating first person dual narrative.
So, I’m done right? No. Now I start polishing. The author who has been beta reading and editing for me has provided a line by line critique (because she’s totally awesome) and every time she sends me a batch of pages, I print, 3-hole punch, and put them in a big binder. Her notes are hand-written in the margins. This is now my editing bible. I am going to sit down with that binder tomorrow and read the entire novel from start to finish, making my own notes in the margins. Then I’ll do the final editing. I’m not sure how long that will take, but I’m estimating about 5 weeks.
Also, I have lots of good news to share. First of all, it is very slow at work so I requested a change in my work schedule from full-time to part-time. I am a contract human resources recruiter at a large mortgage company and when those interest rates tick up, everything comes to a screeching halt. My boss is super cool and she said no problem so now I don’t work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I just changed to the new schedule last week. I couldn’t be happier. Four months of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to write was starting to take its toll a little bit so I am very grateful that I have the flexibility to make these kinds of changes. Now I can put the offspring on the bus on Tuesdays and Thursdays and write until they come home at 4:00.
The other great things are writing related. I follow lots of agents and other writers on Twitter. If you’re writing a novel, Twitter is where you want to be because there are lots of great chats you can participate in. And unlike Facebook, you can follow just about anyone without them having to “accept” you first. I pick up a lot of great information on Twitter by following people in the writing community. One of the people I follow is agent Laura Bradford of the Laura Bradford Literary Agency. She held a drawing on New Year’s Eve and used a random number generator to pick 5 followers (she has 5,000) to win either books, or a critique of their first chapter.
Dudes, I totally won! How freaking awesome is that? Especially because I never win jack.
So anyway, we were supposed to e-mail her to let her know if we wanted the books or the critique. I chose the critique, of course, and told her I’d be sending it on or before the first of March. This is such a valuable prize for someone about to throw themselves into the querying process. Having an agent critique your first chapter, and point out what isn’t working or needs to be changed before you start sending the manuscript out can save you from some rejection heartache down the road. I’m super excited.
Another cool thing that happened is Sara Megibow, another awesome agent, hosted a “First Pages” Writer’s Digest Webinar last Thursday. It was a 90 minute class, broadcast over the Internet, and she talked about what NOT to do in the first pages of your novel. With this webinar, you also receive a critique from Sara of your first three pages. Squee! So, my pages will be sent this week (my beta is taking a look at the polished version and as soon as she turns them around, I’ll send them to Sara). So, having two agents look at your work before you start sending it out is, as I already mentioned, a really valuable thing.
So, that’s whats been going on. I still have some work to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a good ride so far, and I’ve experienced true joy while writing this manuscript. Writing makes me happy.
And I’m close to checking that item off my bucket list. The one about writing a full-length novel and querying every agent who reps my genre.
And that feels pretty damn good.
Have a great week, blogging friends!
P.S. Dear God, I also saw the Eagles in concert a couple months ago and that’s on my bucket list, too. I have lots more I haven’t checked off so don’t be gettin’ any ideas, K?