Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NaNoWriMo Letter From Marissa Meyer

In my email, this is soemthing that New York Times author Marissa Meyer who in 2008 wrote her novel Cinder during NaNoWriMo and got it published.



Stars above, Fellow Novelist, you did it!
Whether you tackled the 50K challenge last November or have spent the past five years plugging away at your first draft, you now stand among the few, the proud, the somewhat mad. You wrote anovel.
If you harbor dreams of seeing that novel on the shelves of your local bookstore, then writing "The End" is the first step toward making that dream a reality. In fact, it's the most important step, and you might be surprised at how few aspiring writers ever get there.
But not you. You set out to write a novel, and that's just what you did. You toiled, you struggled, you laughed, you cried, and when it was all done, you cheered and celebrated this awesome achievement.*
Now you're ready to tackle whatever comes next. Which is, naturally, the process of revision.
There is a lot that can be said about revision. Countless magazine articles and blog posts and even entire books** have been written on this very topic. Some writers loathe revisions, while others love them. Some writers find them tedious and agonizing, while others think they hold more magic than the first draft. (I fall into the latter group, myself.) Whichever camp you belong to, the fact is that revisions are necessary. Revisions eradicate inconsistencies and fill plot holes. They increase tension and deepen characters. They bring worlds to life and make your writing sing.
So here's my advice as you embark on this exciting second leg of your noveling quest:
Take your time.
I mean it. Don't rush the revision process. Yes, I know it can be painful to pace yourself now, when you seem so very close to a finished product. Maybe you've already bookmarked the websites of your preferred literary agents, drafted your query letter, and made a list of famous authors you think might be interested in writing a blurb for your jacket. Maybe you're ready to jump in—right now!
But rushing through the revision process can not only result in a manuscript that may not be as finished as you think it is, it can also cheat you out of some of the most euphoric discoveries about your own novel. Remember when you were writing that first draft and you got an out-of-nowhere idea for such a brilliant plot twist you actually squealed out loud—prompting everyone on the bus to slooowly shift away from you?
Well, guess what. Those lightning-strike moments happen during revision, too! And they have the potential to take your novel to an entirely new place. To raise it above all those other manuscripts that cross an agent's or editor's desk every day.
So take this time to re-explore your story from the beginning. Experience every plot twist anew and ask if you can make it even more exciting, even more surprising, even more intense. Delve into the backstories and motivations of every character and question if they can be more intriguing and more insightful. Consider foreshadowing, sensory details, underlying themes, character quirks, building suspense, and subplots that tie up nice and neat at just the right time. I don't know about you, but I certainly can't keep all these things in my brain at once, which is why I work them into the story gradually, one draft at a time. Layer upon layer upon layer.
Take your time. Be patient. Experience the thrill of falling in love with your book all over again. Eventually you'll reach a point where there's nothing else you can do for your novel. You'll have written the best book you're capable of, and it will finally be ready to be sent out into the world.
Trust me, it will be worth the wait. Happy Revising, Novelists!
Marissa