Let the Novel Rewriting Begin!

manuscript

As many of you know, I wrote a novel last November when I took part in National Novel Writing Month – also known as NaNoWriMo.  I wrote over 50,000 words in a month, and though I’m glad that I was able to get such a big chunk written, I’m nowhere near being done.  I’ve printed out my (very rough) first draft, hole-punched it, and put it into a binder.  Armed with a red pen, a highlighter and some repositionable flags, it’s time to begin phase two of my work.

Yep, I’m Nervous

I’m sure it’s just a mild case of the jitters because I’m facing the unknown, but this looming novel rewrite is a bit scary.  I’ve done plenty of rewriting in my life, but never on a novel.  For example, I revised the collection of illustrated short stories I created, but short stories are, well, shorter!  They’re self-contained, and though my stories are linked by the illustrations, they each stand alone.  Oh well, it’s time to summon my courage and forge on ahead.

What I’m Looking For

In this first run through I hope to find the “obviously wrongs” – things like missing words, wrong spellings (their/there/they’re) and awkward phrasings.  I also hope to identify any inconsistencies, implausibilities, and things that need more fleshing out and more detail.  I know there will be quite a bit of the latter, and welcome the chance to increase my word count because the publishing world is allegedly partial to works of approximately 75,000 words.

My Timeline and Goal

My goal is to finish rewriting this novel by the end of 2011 and start the query process in early 2012.  Sooner would be better, of course, but I know better than to submit work before it’s ready.  The industry research I’ve done in the last year relayed that message again and again.  Don’t query before your manuscript is actually complete (i.e. don’t query when you’re still writing your first draft!), and don’t count on an agent or editor to recognize your “diamond in the rough”, sign you, and then clean your work up for you.  Author Catherine Ryan Hyde stated that “neatness does count” in our interview earlier this month, and she’s right.  So I’ll devote ample time and effort to my story in hopes of seeing it on a bookstore’s shelf one day.

Note(s) to self:

Remember the wise words of Stephen Kaggwa.  ”Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.”
The words of Lao Tzu are also apropos.  “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Oh, and don’t forget this gem by John Irving. “Half my life (as a writer) is an act of revision.”

Rewriting officially begins this week.  Wish me luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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2 Comments

  1. Posted January 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm by Jenny Hilborne | Permalink

    Wishing you luck. You’ll do fine, I believe in you. I’m also in the re-writing stage. I just read a quote on one of online groups by Hemingway that “The first draft of anything is shit” so have no fear…all uphill (for the better) from here. Go, Mel.

  2. Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you, Jenny. I appreciate your vote of confidence!
    Melody