I began writing my novel, ‘Inconstant Moon’, last November.
National Novel Writing Month
NaNoWriMo is so successful it’s gone international now, but they haven’t changed the name. Possibly because InNoWriMo doesn’t have the same zing to it. I went to some local NaNoWriMo write-ins back in November, as well as finding some support during and after through the Identi.ca NaNoWriMo group. After NaNoWriMo concluded a couple of us continued there through finishing & editing.
Although my intention for the last few years has been to get back into writing, specifically with novels, something always seemed to come up. Which is why having the deadline provided by NaNoWriMo was important for me. It gave me something to shoot for. I even told my family I intended to ignore my birthday and everything else during November so I could get it done. And I did.
I was a NaNoWriMo “winner” which means that I fulfilled the NaNoWriMo objective of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. But one of the coolest things about NaNoWriMo is that a company called CreateSpace gives all NaNoWriMo “winners” the opportunity to collect a free printed proof of your novel. Even if you don’t plan to publish it, or even ever read the thing, it’s a lovely memento.
But I’ve been planning on self-publishing for a while, so it was an ideal situation for me.
I realized about half way through the month that there was no way that my novel would be finished at a mere 50,000 words. During NaNoWriMo I wrote 58,681 words. After that, it took until April 11, 2010 to get the first draft finished. It came in at 103,289 words. And that was just the first draft: getting to the end.
That’s when the first editing started. Because my novel has a cast of thousands (not really, only twenty or so) and because I wrote it in bursts, just smoothing out the rough stuff took much longer than I thought it would. Instead of having a single main character, the group of students that I follow are all roughly equal in importance. Which is kind of interesting, but it made extra difficulty for me having to choreograph the characters throughout.
Unfortunately, it was already into the month of June when I got it to the point I was comfortable giving it out to Beta Readers. In order to claim the free proof from CreateSpace, the novel needed to be submitted by their June 30th deadline.
Wanna know how nasty I was?
Essentially I dumped a 400 page novel on my poor Beta Readers, and they had to read it and give me feedback on it in a week.
A week. (I needed the last week of the month to make the changes needed.)
What is truly amazing is that they did it. I got really great beta feedback from all of my my readers under the impossible deadline I gave them.
Drum roll Please:
Thank you Beta Readers:
(and you’ll all get an acknowledgment in the book too: woo hoo!)
I got different things from the different beta readers whose input helped the novel.
Spelling and grammar and culture – oh my!
The most difficult part of self publishing is not having an editor. If time wasn’t an issue, I could do it myself, simply by setting the novel aside for a while. Like a year… or maybe two. After I’ve written something I need at least that much time to be able to look at it with fresh eyes. But I’d rather not wait that long.
The most editorial feedback came from Nienke, and if I can manage not to be so under the gun next time, perhaps I’ll be able to entice her into being my editor.
Honorable mention goes to my sister Nicole Russwurm. I waved a couple of pages under her nose before we headed out to our nephew’s stag & doe (which, naturally, fell in that last week of June). If I was more conscious or organized she’d get a book mention too… alas, I am not 😦
Although I had front cover art, I had to do the back cover and spine as well. You don’t know how big the spine will be until you know how many pages there are.
Which means you can’t finalize the cover until the page count is frozen.
So on the 30th I was alternating between adding the spine and back cover and skimming through the text formatting. Although I was a wreck at the end of the day, I got the files uploaded.
Final Wordcount: 109,850
Here’s the back cover:
Although I like a good vampire story, the title is, and was always, from ‘Romeo and Juliet’. My worry is that the moon will make people will think it’s a vampire book, when in fact it is not.