Novel in a Year, plus another year

With the chill autumnal air approaching, and the kids back to school and – sigh – university, it’s time to get back to my novel.

Over the summer, three wonderful beta readers (Nick, Liz and Ruth) read my draft and gave some awesome feedback. There’s a lot to do. I realised, while scanning through their comments, that I need to go deeper into my main character, and that some of the less engaging parts of her are actually based on me (lol, I think). That said, I should be able to explain those parts much more clearly, and hopefully sympathetically.

Since I received their critiques, I’ve had a lot of extra shifts at work; I was away last weekend and also this coming one; and then another heap of extra shifts after that. It might be October until I get into them properly.

Moments beta comments

These are the merged comments, with all their agreements and conflicts. Doesn’t it look awful? You send off something you think is perfect, and get this back. Then you read them, and find yourself nodding and sighing and wondering how the heck you thought you were ready to send it in the first place.

I’d hoped to have this book ready to query in November, a year after writing the original idea during NaNoWriMo last year, but – as the title of this post suggests  – that probably won’t happen.

But that’s okay. Two years is still far shorter than my previous attempts at a novel 🙂

So, how are you?

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30 thoughts on “Novel in a Year, plus another year”

  1. I’m right there with you, Annalisa. I “finished” my latest revision (of the story you last read for me) and sent if off to a new reader, someone who hadn’t read any of the previous versions. And it came back loaded with issues. Honestly, it made me feel like I may never get it right. But then I sat down and started addressing the comments one by one. So like you, I’ve got a lot of work ahead. Hopefully the resulting stories (for both of us) will be worth it!

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  2. I spent a whole lot more time than that on my first novel–mostly revising in circles–and now I’m probably right about even with you on the one I’m working on, now. I think it’s about killing the inner perfectionist, and learning when to let go, these days. I’m aiming to finish the revision **optimistically** in the next four or five months, but definitely before summer.

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    1. The longest I spent on a novel – my first – was 20 years. And I never gave up on the MC – in fact, she’s made it into this current novel too! That inner perfectionist is so compelling, though, isn’t it?

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    1. It’s the first time I’ve merged comments – I got very lost trying to work between them on a previous project that I wondered if this way will be better. I’ll update when I know, one way or the other 🙂

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  3. What’s the saying? Behind every great writer is a great editor? Something like that. Looks like you’re well on your way with plenty of feedback and notes!

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  4. I know exactly what you mean! But don’t rush it, get to it as you can and polish away! I actually like the editing stage the best. I’ve just got over the mid -slump point in my current first draft but time is a problem for me too right now – sigh!

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    1. So you’re barrelling towards the end? Awesome. I find it sometimes helps to block out the time on my online calendar – that way I know I won’t let anything get in the way, even if it’s only for an hour. My notebook will be going away with me, because I’ve got some good first chapter improvement ideas.

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  5. All those notes on your manuscript look scary. I might just cry if I get one back like that. So, good that giving up hadn’t crossed your mind. You go girl! Definitely take your time getting it ready and polished, just the way you like it. Wishing you the best.

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  6. all of those notes look scary, but it seems you have the right approach and are truly thinking about what your beta readers said. Now to apply their suggestions but still keep the book “YOU”, your voice, your plan. You are on track and doing great (in my opinion). Continue your journey and keep us posted. The end result shall be quite worthy!

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  7. Hi Annalisa – that merging must be so useful – neat and organised … allowing you to think straight as you adjust into it. Take your time … but these few weeks give you a chance to mull over what you’ve seen … and perhaps the emergent new draft will be way better – looks like it will .. fantastic – well done. Now enjoy this weekend – cheers Hilary

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  8. I’m way behind on my novella project. Sigh. I need to get it to a place where I can stop then prep and work on something new for NaNo. I’ll then have the two projects going for the end of the year, the beginning of next. And don’t forget writing stories, blog posts, etc. Where did 2017 go?!

    Good luck with the revisions!

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    1. Yes, my plan was to have this finished by November, so I could do something new for NaNo. I might sit this year out – I’m not sure how I feel about working on two projects… Good luck to you, sounds like you’re going to be busy 🙂

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  9. I was happy to help! It’s a really engaging story and just take as long as you need to get it right. Merging comments is something I haven’t done, but sounds like it’s worth a go as you’ll get a quicker idea of where readers thought similar things. Good luck!

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