Status Update: My Writing Journey

The reason I initially started this blog was to talk about "my writing journey." So here's an update on where I'm at and what I've learned so far!

I finished the first draft of my novel about a month and a half ago. Once I had a first draft done, I wasn't sure what to do next. To get myself started, I literally googled, "I finished my novel, what do I do next?" and came across Anne R. Allen's helpful blog post titled: "I've Written a Book. Now What? 22 Steps to Getting Published." I also bought the book she wrote along with Catherine Ryan Hyde: "How To Be A Writer In the E-Age: A Self-Help Guide." Additionally, I've connected with fellow writers in person and on Twitter, and perused Pinterest, Instagram, and writer/agent blogs for information.

The journey has been exciting and a bit overwhelming. There is a lot that goes into publishing including researching literary agents, writing my author bio, writing my query letter to garner interest from agents, and of course finalizing my novel.

At this point, my novel has been through one full thorough round of edits (thanks to my husband). I implemented his feedback and now I have several family members and friends reviewing my second draft. I'm hoping to submit my novel for query by next Spring 2019.  

Below is what I've learned so far on my journey:

1). An adult fiction novel should be at least 80,000 words. This may seem like a simple well-known fact to the literary community, but I didn't know it until a month ago. My fellow writer friend clued me in when I mentioned that my novel was 60,000 words. I didn't know there were "rules" surrounding word count, so I started adding content to my novel. Quickly I realized that these additions were necessary to understand my main character's thoughts, develop the setting further, and add dialogue. I'm so glad that I've added more content, and am now at 76,000 words, so only a few thousand to go.

2) My genre is science fiction. I originally thought I was writing a "dystopian" novel, however, that is not really a literary category (again thank you to my writer friend for the tip). Instead, my novel really is sci-fi, in a post-apocalyptic setting. There were some elements of science fiction in my first draft, which I have since expanded upon through listening to scientific podcasts, and googling. I'm so excited to have added this scientific backbone to strengthen my book.

3) It's important to read when I'm not writing. As others are editing my novel, I have been making trips to my local library to find other science fiction books. It's great to read within my genre for inspiration to improve my next draft. It's also important for me to find a "comp" book. What is a comp you ask? Well don't worry, I just found out too. A "comp" is a comparison book that is similar to mine, so that literary agents know what they're getting into before they request or reject my work. I've really enjoyed my search for "comps" --  my weekends have been filled with thumbing through books, getting inspired, and learning new things.

4) I have more ideas up my sleeve. Through listening to the "Write or Die" podcast, I now understand that getting your book published takes a long time. It's likely an arduous journey, full of rejection -- not as glamorous as I had dreamed. A lot of the writers interviewed on the podcast explain that they get through the tough times by simply starting on their next idea. This weekend, I came up with a new young adult fiction concept that I'm going to begin working on as soon as I send my sci-fi book out for submission. That way, I have a project to distract me while I'm waiting for feedback from agents.

More updates as I continue learning!!


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