Back in November I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and completed the 50,000 word challenge. I did not, however, finish the first draft of my novel. I needed to do some more research on creepy stuff in Los Angeles and do some reading on real and fictional sociopaths. I also needed to take a break and work on some other things before diving back into my book.
I was going to set this month’s challenge as “Finish the First Draft”, but I’m so burnt out. I have a few personal things happening that are wearing on me, and I likely don’t need to explain the weariness of being an ally for the human rights issues that are happening now. I recognize my privilege and the fact that I can check out when I need to, but I’m really trying hard to keep fighting.
Anyway, instead of finishing the first draft, I am going to prepare a section of my book for review. I joined an online writers group last month and they mostly write fiction. I care more about my nonfiction writing, but enjoy writing fiction too. Plus, I’ve started several novels and never finished them (seriously, this practice started in 8th grade).
Why review before finishing?
Reviewing a part of the work before finishing the whole piece seems like a bad idea. However, the chapter I’m preparing sets up my characters and setting. If these things need changes to work better, the changes will affect how the rest of the story is written. The entire book is predicated on this first chapter interaction (as of now), and getting some feedback will likely help me finish. Or throw it out if it doesn’t seem worth finishing, which I’m totally okay doing, too.
What to do after the review?
Instead of applying the edits directly to my chapter, I will incorporate feedback into the book as a whole. Then once the first draft is finished, I’ll re-edit the first chapter with those edits (and any that make sense in the new canon itself), and re-submit. Writing is mostly about revising and I’ve never applied this principle to my fiction because I’ve just never cared enough to do it. The current draft of my novel (formerly titled 50 Shades of LA, current working title: Somewhere in Time) is in its second iteration. The first was a typical romance, which I couldn’t stomach writing. This iteration has more mystery, a bit of sci-fi, and probably some murder. It’s still a romance, but it’s secondary.
Are you a writer? What do you like to write? Have you ever submitted any work (writing or other creative work) for review?