Re: NaNoWriMo a No-No?

in Creative Process/Submissions by

Dear Editor…

I am doing NaNoWriMo and am doing surprisingly well! I was looking up NaNo fun (proscrastinating) when I stumbled upon something from another editor saying that they won’t publish anything from NaNoWriMo. They called it stupid and useless! Is this true? I understand not publishing something on December 1st, but can a novel from NaNo still be good if edited properly?

Sincerely,
Still Just a Teen

Dear Still Just a Teen . . .

Publication can be the eventual result of NaNoWriMo. I know a novelist whose debut started there. “Started” being the key word. It’s not reasonable to think you can submit what you draft during this intense month without substantial revision. Likely many drafts. First drafts are about discovery and allowing a big ol’ embarrassing pile o’ Ugly to land on the page. NaNoWriMo helps you turn off your inner editor and vomit all that ugly out. Then the digging for Beautiful begins. Veteran novelists will tell you they spend more time revising than writing Draft One. For inspiration, read my Revision Week interviews with lauded writers here. NaNoWriMo gets you over the Draft One hump, and that’s not “useless.” I’m following prolific YA/NA author Jennifer L. Armentrout on Facebook right now as she posts about touring a bestseller while NaNoWriMo’ing her next book. So erase “stupid” and “useless” from your mind and regain that productive mindset that had you cranking out your personal pile o’ Ugly. Beautiful awaits.

Happy writing!
The Editor

8 Comments

  1. Great response! I just want to emphasize the point that all those revisions happen BEFORE you submit your manuscript to an editor. Critique groups can help you with this. Editors should only see the most beautiful drafts you can write. Then they ask you questions that make your story even more beautiful.

  2. My first NaNoWriMo was only to prove to myself that I, as a 40ish adult, could start and finish a writing project. That first mess got trunked and will never see the light of day, but now, I have my first published story and several more on the submissions-go-round. I’ve made friends with several authors in my area, I have a solid start to my first novel, and I call myself a writer every day. THAT is what NaNoWriMo is for.

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