NaNoWriMo · The Fair Queen · WIP · Writing

My writing progress

After almost a year of thinking, planning, plotting, outlining, drafting, editing, revising and a whole lot of procrastinating, I finally finished my first novel.

In case you were wondering, those pterodactyl screams are coming from me.

Writing progress Lyndsey's Book Blog

I wrote the first draft of The Fair Queen between September and January, I rewrote it between February and May, and I completed my final edits a few days ago and sent my MS out to a handful of beta readers to read and give me feedback.

Excuse me while I curl up in a ball of utter dread waiting for my beta readers to finish reading and tell me how terrible it is.

I’m exaggerating. I hope. One of my betas has been sending me regular messages about how much she loves it and hopes I’m already working on a sequel (I’m not, just in case editors and publishers alter it beyond recognition and the sequel in my mind doesn’t match anymore, but the ideas are there!).

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For those of you who are new around here, I took part in my first ever NaNoWriMo in November last year. If you’re REALLY new around here, Nano is a month long writing camp where writers from all over the world get together online and sometimes in person (your local chapter will have meet-ups but you don’t have to go), and try to write 50k words in 30 days. I discovered it on Twitter at just the right time, by October I’d written about 15k words, so I worked on my outline, created a list of 30 scenes I needed to draft for my WIP, and joined in.

I managed a solid 35k words in November, which I am really proud of, it’s the most I’ve ever written and even though I didn’t “win” I felt so much satisfaction and motivation to finish my first draft, which I did in early January, with around 70k words total.

I took a couple of weeks off to refresh and recharge my mental batteries, before getting stuck into draft two in February. Then I discovered Camp Nano, a branch of NaNoWriMo that takes part in April and allows you to choose your own targets, but gives the same sense of community and support as the November version.

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I set my target at 35k words for April, thinking I’d managed as much in Nov and this was just rewriting and editing. Well, do not underestimate the work it takes to turn a first draft into a neat and structured manuscript! I also had a week’s holiday in Turkey booked during April so I basically had to rewrite 35k words in 21 days. I managed about 32k words, which I was really pleased with, although I would have loved to win this time.

I spent May finishing my second draft, and completely rewriting the ending as I had realised it wouldn’t work the way I’d originally planned it. I was going to leave the book on a huge cliffhanger, with the intention of writing a sequel, but I found out that debut authors should always tie up their endings as they may not get a sequel if the first book isn’t a huge hit. So, the cliffhanger had to go, and I pretty much pantsed my way to an ending I’m happy with – one that ties up the story line of the book and brings the characters full circle, but still leaves a couple of questions and plot lines open for a follow up, without being too frustrating for readers (I hope!).

After I finished draft two I immediately started my third and final read through, formatting the MS and correcting any spelling mistakes I spotted, amending a few word choices, and probably delaying the next step to some extent. Then I sent it out to my beta readers. And that is where we currently are. Waiting for feedback. Watching the clock and biting my fingernails. I’ll let you know what they thought of it!

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Almost as soon as my MS was winging its way to betas, I saw an email ping into my inbox about Camp Nano July. I really find NaNoWriMo to be the most motivating and inspiring experience, I wouldn’t be where I am today, with a completed MS and a real sense of achievement, if I hadn’t come across Nano. So of course I’m going to take part in July!

I decided, instead of hoping my betas all have their feedback in by then so I could do a final round of edits before querying agents, I’m going to start working on a new novel idea. It’ll help me to get some distance from The Fair Queen before that final round of editing, hopefully making me more objective to any faults and flaws in the book. And if TFQ doesn’t sell and get me my first book deal, I’ll need something else to work on and submit! So, as of July, I’ll be working on a sort of modern retelling of The Secret Garden in YA fantasy style.

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So, that’s what I’ve been up to in my writing life, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now for finishing what I started, and I actually really enjoyed reading my novel back through to check for spelling errors etc. I really hope my beta readers enjoy it too, but more than that I hope they give me honest feedback about the plot and characters and pacing and whatever else they have thoughts and feelings on. I definitely need a fresh pair of eyes to tell me what’s working and what isn’t, so I can make this MS the best it can possibly be before submitting it to agents.

What have you been working on lately? Will you be taking part in Camp Nano next month? Tell me all about your current WIPs and story ideas in the comments.

 

Lyndsey

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My writing progress Lyndsey's Book Blog

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13 thoughts on “My writing progress

  1. Congrats on reaching the coveted stage where other people get to read the draft! That’s a serious accomplishment.
    I really like what you said about working on a new idea while you’re waiting for the beta readers to get back to you. I’m definitely the kind of writer where I CANNOT be without a project.
    Right now, I’m working on revising my rough draft of a novel. I’m hoping to have it ready for beta readers in a couple months. I was nervous to started revising, but I’m fortunately still in a highly motivated overall mood. I’m excited about what’s coming next and all the changes I’m making to the story.
    Wishing you the best of luck with your next endeavor! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know that I’ll be doing Camp NaNo in July. I feel like the NaNo months always seem to happen when I’m not ready to work on actually writing a project. I’m in the stage where I’m waiting for the next idea to hit me, but who knows? Maybe I’ll get a brilliant idea before July happens!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading about other writers’ processes so much! Maybe I should do a post like this . . .

    Anyway, yes, revising is hard work. So much hard work that I’ve never actually revised any of my first drafts to completion, but next time I will. (That’s what I say every time, but whatever.)

    I just always get to the point where I’m planning to revise and decide it’s too much of a mess for me to make it good enough for others to read.

    I’m planning to participate in Camp NaNo this July with a new first draft, my first since 2015. I’m hoping a new project that I haven’t been trying and failing to revise for years is just what I need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How exciting! What’s your new project about? I do love getting new ideas, and I can’t wait to start on this new novel, but I’m really excited to take the next step with my first WIP too πŸ˜„ fingers crossed I can actually get it across the finish line and publish!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a science fiction project about a boy who is accusing his parents of murdering him even though he is still alive. The story alternates between the court case and the story of how my main character came to make this accusation. I’m still working on the hook.

        It’s kind of an out there project because it involves a non-human POV, which I know puts a lot of people off. This is an expanded version of a short story I wrote. My betas, several of whom said they usually hate animal narrators said they were shocked the POV to works so well. I’m still nervous to take on something so ambitious, but excited all the same.

        The best of luck to you with your WIP!

        Like

  3. Congratulations on finishing your MS, even though there might be some edits waiting for you once you get feedback from your beta readers πŸ™‚ Even so, it’s a great achievement! I wish I’d be that far already, but I’ve got still a few months of writing and editing to go.

    I can only applaud your dedication and motivation to get this far. I’ve won NaNoWriMo multiple times, but I kept failing at picking the first drafts up again afterwards to edit them. I couldn’t shake of the feeling that they were just not good enough.
    But I finally recycled one of those first drafts, outlined it a bit better and I am currently rewriting it, so there’s hope that I will get there in the end.

    Anyway, I will definitely keep an eye on your progress. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats! I’m so excited for you! I discovered your blog this morning and I have been quickly scanning all of your posts. I love it when you get to follow the author through their writing journey,
    I am currently 41K words into my first draft and I can’t wait until I reach the Beta Reader stage as well.
    Good luck!!

    Like

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