Do you have a first draft (or many) languishing on your hard drive? Want to get it ready to submit, but have no idea where to start? Or maybe you’ve been picking at it for months, changing this and that and getting nowhere.
In 2012 I will be running a year-long project on the blog, stepping through the process of turning that first, rough draft into a submission-ready novel, complete with synopsis and query letter.
I don’t profess to be an expert on writing query letters or on what makes an amazing novel. There’s plenty of information out there already on that. What I am an expert at is planning a project, working through steps and goals to achieve outcomes. I’m also pretty damn good at revising.
What I will be providing is a road map to take you through the revision process for your novel, including what areas to focus on, which bits to do first (so you don’t end up revising the same paragraph a hundred times), achievable milestones for each quarter and a pair of shoulders to cry on when things get tough.
Which they will.
Included in the project will be milestones for writing another first draft as you go. So by the end of the year, you will have a polished manuscript, query letter, synopsis and completed first draft.
If you have trouble with discipline and sustained progress, or you have a completed first draft and don’t know where to go next, or you have been procrastinating out of fear, then this might be the project for you.
Or maybe you just like working in a group, and enjoy the camaraderie and encouragement you get from working with a bunch of people.
This won’t be quite the same as the Creativity Workshop; it will be a much looser, more open style. You won’t need a blog or twitter, and you won’t need to update (though you can if you want to!). There will be monthly “help me!” sessions, where you can ask for assistance on tricky revision problems. There will also be some fun stuff in there, to help you keep smiling when you really never want to see your damn manuscript again.
It will also be paced to suit people who might be working, or have kids at home, or many other demands on their time. Hence why it’s taking a year.
So, if you’d like to participate, throw your name in the comments. I’ll be doing it myself anyway, but if I get enough interest I will run the project publicly. If you’ve never heard of me, have a look at the Creativity Workshop posts to see what you can expect from this project.
The hard work starts on January 1, 2012 (or whenever you emerge from the Silly Season).