Next Steps

I have spent this entire weekend trying to polish up my last 3.5 chapters for review. My critique group isn't meeting for another two weeks, so I do have a week to get the first half up to scratch... but I really want to start my next draft. But reworking is taking longer than normal. This week, I blame West Wing, George R. R. Martin, and my new-found skill in jam-making (spiced plum is amazing, and tomorrow I embark on ginger-grapefruit. Holy cow, I'm awesome). Ah well, it WILL be done!

And then I will start draft #2. As you may have noticed, I have added a second progress bar to track my progress on draft #2. For those of you who have agreed to be my beta readers, that little bar will be ticking down the moments until I'll send the whole darn thing out to you.

Here's the plan:

1. Finish polishing the ending and send it out to my critique group.

2. Define what I need to concentrate on in my next draft, go through previous critiques and pull out what I will change, what I need to clarify, and what I'm going to ignore.

3. Accomplish said changes and clarifications. Cut a little, add a lot. (I hope this will go more quickly than the transition from rough outline draft to first draft, since I do much better once the words are on the page. I want to finish this by the end of August. Wish me luck!)

4. Send draft #2 out to my beta readers (if you want to be a beta reader and haven't spoken with me, let me know! I have a list :) While my beta readers read, I'll research, get advice, and generally work on my pitch. I want to prepare as much as possible for the process that comes after the writing part so I don't end up stalled or rejected just because I was ignorant.

5. Get comments from beta readers, do a final polish (hopefully there won't be many big changes) and start looking for an agent. I want to be doing this by October.

All in all, it seems more and more possible. I get good reviews from my critique group (lots to fix, but still overall positive), even when I look at my stuff and deem it crap. I finished it without getting bored and dropping it (I am incredibly proud of that). I have a plan for the immediate future. Not bad for a first attempt at a book!

Even if it never gets published (there's still a very good chance of that), I'm still going to feel good about it. I'll keep on keepin' on, because I really do love the act of creation. And let's face it; the 'muses' are not easily ignored!

But how thrilling would it be to see something I wrote on a bookshelf somewhere?

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