I printed out my entire NaNoWriMo novel — all 132 pages, single spaced, all 61,578 words — and have started to read the whole enchilada for the first time since feverishly cranking it out.
I’m about half-way through reading it, and I’m not feeling what I expected to feel.
I like it. I really really like it!
This scares me. It makes me think/realize/know that I’m not objective, can’t be objective about this little blue and pink baby I gave birth to in November. How and where do I find the objectivity to edit the bejesus out of this, to make my characters as lovable — or not — to outsiders as they are to me? To make the story compelling and gotta-find-out-what-happens next? How and where can I get or develop the necessary critical and discerning eye and ear?
I’m surprised with how adrift I feel, because I’ve been an academic writer forever, and I can set a research report draft aside for a couple of days, a week, and then come back and know exactly where and how to edit and improve my draft. But this is completely different.
I know there are several places (lots, actually) that I need to flesh out both character and story, and several places where the dots need to be connected better. But I thought I’d be tossing most of my draft into a scrap pile, and I’m not feeling that way.
So: how do I become the critic? How do I revise and edit this baby and help it grow into a likable grown-up that everyone on the planet (or at least some of the denizens of Barnes & Noble) wants to know? How do you do it? Have you found any books, courses, blogs, tips that work for you? I just got an email from Holly Lisle for her online How to Revise Your Novel course. Has anyone taken this, or had any experience with her courses? Anything from anywhere — Writer’s Digest, ed2go, whatever — that you recommend?
Because right now, I don’t have a clue how to move forward. I might have to spend the rest of the day baking cookies (which is not necessarily a bad idea).
On a slightly different note — publishing rather than editing — I did find a site yesterday that’s pretty interesting: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by Jon Konrath. His December 27 post is full of interesting ideas on publishing and, particularly, on self-promotion. Worth a read.
Okay, I am awaiting your good ideas. Thanks in advance.