Thursday, November 4, 2010

Open Topic Thursday: Don't Submit That NaNo Novel Yet

Today is day four of that annual phenomena known as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I'm off to a late start, having only clocked in 3000 words so far. Not too worried, though. My chapter-by-chapter outline is ready and I can write out of sequence if necessary. It's not my typical modus operandi but sometimes the right side of the brain needs to be jolted out of its complacency from time to time.

NaNo has its supporters and its detractors. I read tweets from agents, editors, and publishers who act as if there will be a deluge of NaNo manuscripts flooding their in boxes on December 1. To them, it seems as if all NaNo novels are bad. Well they are. Because they're first drafts. And first drafts suck. Mine did. You'd be surprised if you saw the initial draft of Death Sword and the most recent one. (Death Sword was my 2008 NaNo project.)

I'm sure there are eager writers who will submit their novels too soon to beleaguered editors, agents, and publishers. If you're one of these writers (and I know you're not), or if you know someone who is, please tell them not to do this. Encourage them to revise their work and have it critiqued before submitting it. They may not like the idea of being told their baby has big ears, as a friend of mine says, but if they want to be published writers they need to acquire thick skins.

Editors, publishers, and agents have a difficult and often thankless job which is compounded by people who think they don't need to edit their manuscripts. Why make it difficult for the people who can help you become a better writer and hopefully help you sell your book? In this business we need all the allies we can get.

So get out there and write. Then revise, revise, revise and make us and yourself proud of your story.

1 comment:

nerinedorman said...

I'll be brutally honest, when I read a query letter and an author is clearly a first-timer who claims the submission is their NaNo novel, I sometimes experience a slight tic in my left eye.

Then again, some of my favourite authors I took on based on the strength of their NaNo novel, so it can't be all bad.


My advise: write, revise, get concrit, revise some more then let a MS lie fallow and revise again before subbing anywhere. That's the barest minimum.