I’m still flying high from participating in NaNoWriMo, and find myself working on the book almost every day since writing every day feels more like a habit now. To keep it going, I have to continue to:
- Create a new deadline. My next goal is to have a decent draft for my critique group by March. That means I must organize my scenes, fill in holes, and decide on one of those endings!
- Make time for writing. To meet my new deadline, writing must continue to be a priority or it gets shoved to the “later” list which often means the “way later” list, with days or weeks going by before I write again and by then, lots of momentum is lost.
- Remind myself of the power of speed. If I’m adding a new scene to a new draft, I’m just writing it, not worried about how it sounds yet. Lots of freedom in just getting it down.
- Think about the novel. I’m still noodling on some details and thinking about it keeps the excitement alive.
What do you do to keep your momentum after a first draft? What goes into your second draft? What do you focus on? I’d love more tips since this is the first time I’ve actually written a novel this way–with a very rough first draft all the way through. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true!
Denise, I actually met you at the Book Bar in June. You are very encouraging to me. Thanks. Since I met you I have finished the third book in my Little Honker series, written a early reader chapter book which I have not sent in yet, and am working on two other things. I have another children’s book in the works as well as a book that is primarily based on my youngest brother who died in October in a fire. I don’t want the book to be an exact memory of him, but I would like to use some of what happened in his life to create a story that youth might find interesting. Do you have suggestions regarding a publisher for this type of book? Do you have an agent. Thanks for any suggestions you might give me.
Great to hear from you. How wonderful that you’ve been so prolific – I can feel your excitement. 🙂 I am so sorry to hear about your brother. How lovely that you want to honor his memory through story. As for a publisher, I can’t recall when we talked if you have taken classes and/or have been writing and submitting for awhile so I apologize if some of this isn’t helpful. With the industry being as competitive as it is, if you haven’t taken classes or gotten feedback on your work, that would be my #1 piece of advice in terms of next steps. Then, when you’ve gotten the manuscript the best it can be, you can begin to research publishers. You can check the bookstores and libraries to see who’s publishing books that are similar to yours and then check their websites for submission guidelines–though if you’ve already ben submitting, you probably already know this! And yes, I do have an agent. Have fun!
Thanks so much for taking time out to respond to me. Before I started to write my children’s books, I read and read and read children’s books, talked to librarians, and even talked to elementary school teachers. I have taken classes, but not recently, and taught creative writing in high school for several years. When I found books I liked, I did go to the websites to find submission requirements and again and again I found that they did not accept anything from someone who has not been published. That is the reason I went with Tate. I thought about trying to get an agent, but have not been sure where to turn on this or if I could afford it right now. Hence, I am plugging along and attempting to get things figures out. I’m seeking advice wherever I can find it. Hence, one of the reasons I contacted you. Thank you so much for your thoughts and time.
All that is great! Reading, talking to teachers and librarians, and exploring publisher website. Great job! FYI, I’m teaching an Intro to Picture Book class at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in February if you want to get an overview. If you haven’t taken a class specifically on children’s picture books, this is a great, fun intro that can give you some insights. And if I didn’t mention the SCBWI and local events, I would encourage you to check that out as well. Lots of gatherings and great conferences and workshops where you can connect with other writers, editors, and agents. Our local chapter is here. Finally, I have some self-paced, online classes available. I applaud your efforts to find out as much as you can! So many writers don’t do the research and often sabotage their chances of making things happen. Keep in touch!
Thank you so much for your help. I knew you taught some classes and I will see what I can do. I think it would be fun. I have some rather serious issues with my daughter right now, but if I can manage it, I’d like to discover what you have to offer.
Of course! Sending good thoughts around you and your daughter. Follow your heart in all things and all will be well. xo