By guest blogger, author, editor, and extraordinaire Jami Gray
You survived Nanowrimo, the hellish month of November, where you churned out words by the bucketful. You even made it to the final two—THE END, so now what? Do you drag battered fingers to the keyboard to carve out a synopsis and query letter, then attach both to your story and send the entire package winging off to a publisher or agent?
No! (Slapping at your sore, beleaguered digits) Step away from the keyboard, dear writer friend, exhaustion is playing tricks on your poor brain. You can’t forgo an important part of your creative process—the honing of your story.
You wouldn’t present a semi-cooked egg for consumption just because your caffeine fix hasn’t kicked in, right? Then don’t serve the same to a prospective agent or publisher.
The point of presenting your pretty package of story, query, and synopsis to the alters of publishers or agents, is to share your polished gem of beautiful craftsmanship when it’s at its best. This will elicit “ohhs” and “awws” of stunned amazement from said alter deities, and, if the fates are kind, culminate with a blessing of a contract.
This is not to say your story treasure isn’t beautiful, but if you set it aside during the merry month of wintery celebration, revisit it during the dawning of the new year, and then humbly offer it to your support group of choice (critique, beta readers, editors), you may discover that what appeared beautifully concocted in November, could bypass “beautiful” and rocket to “brilliant” with a little polishing here and there.
Take the time to let your story mature, let others sample it, and gauge the reactions. Did your plot twist sneak up on your test readers, or were they faced with it straight out of the gate? Was the emotional journey of your main character fraught with realistic peril, or were the challenges faced not cruel enough to bring them to their knees before raising them higher than before? Did you add an extra arm in that fight scene? Did a character change hair color or personality without explanation?
When we spend a month snuggled up to our story, it’s hard to see the little things, like the fact it prefers to stay in PJs all day long and eat chocolate bonbons, while expecting you to clean the house for impending company. Taking a step back and a deep breath will ensure your darlings won’t need your constant support to shine. In fact, giving them space is necessary for them to find their inner core of brilliance and shine their creative light upon unsuspecting agents and publishers, luring them into a long-lasting relationship.
Nanowrimo isn’t the end, my writer friends, it’s simply the beginning of an exciting new journey, so like all good adventurers, be sure you’ve prepared accordingly.
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