Keeping Score: 10 February 2023

As you can imagine from my last post (and lack of posting through Nov, Dec, or Jan), absolutely nothing went as planned, writing-wise, over the last three months.

NaNoWriMo? Sure, I got 16,000 words into it before crashing and burning. Now I have two incomplete novels sitting on my laptop, waiting for me to pick them back up 😬

The TCF? Dropped it. Okay, I delayed it first, then dropped it. There was simply too much else going on, between racing to get to the PR finish line and interviewing for a new job. And the holidays. I’m still studying French, mind, but I’ve had to let go of the idea of getting tested on it, for now.

Ditto the Clarion West classes. I attended a few sessions of the mystery-writing one, but the homework (a new story every week) overwhelmed me, and the lectures + feedback turned out to be less valuable than I thought. So I backed out of the other classes, too, freeing up time in my schedule to deal with everything else that was happening.

I did get two new stories out of the class, though. True, one of them I didn’t finish until January, and then only by ignoring the parameters of the original assignment. But still. One of them I think might be a trunk story, but the other (the January one) I’m really rather fond of, and plan to polish up for submission…later 😅

On the good news front, I did keep up with my critique group (bless them for putting up with me), and we’re almost to the end of the prison-break-in-space novel I wrote a few years ago (fourth novel completed, second sci-fi book, prior to the two unfinished novels were started). So I’ve gone back through their feedback up to this point, distilled it to a set of edits to make, and have started in on actually making those edits.

I know, this is what you’re supposed to do with novels, yes? Write a first draft for yourself, do a second draft for others to read, and then edit, edit, edit based on feedback and your own reads before sending it out to agents.

Well, I’ve got the first part down — four novels in first draft stage — and I’ve done the second (for this book, anyway), but I’ve never gone past that point. Always started a new book rather than revise the last one.

But not this time! I’m going through the thing, chapter by chapter, editing as I go. Most of the feedback I received concerned physical descriptions and layout, so that’s what I’m working on first. Which means, oddly enough, adding material instead of chipping things away. So the book’s getting longer, not shorter, as I work on this revision.

If all goes well 🤞I think I’ll have the edits wrapped by May. Which is not that far away, all things considered! Then it’ll be time to compile a list of possible agents, and start shipping out query letters.

What about you? If you did NaNoWriMo, how did it go? If you didn’t, have you made any writing goals for 2023, and how are they coming along so far?

Ron Toland @mindbat