Welcome to November! This year I'm spending November committing a blasphemous crime...at least one that offends my own personal sensibilities. Normally I embark upon National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, but for the first time in almost a decade I'm not doing the thing. Instead I’m spending the month getting ready for Pitch Week, a competition that will take place in June when I go to Vermont and share the manuscript for The Last Stand along with elements of a developed marketing package with a panel of judges from the Green Writers Press publishing house. Confused? Good. All will be explained in time.
What the heck is The Last Stand?
Oh that? It's a novel I've been working on in one form or another since I was about 13. It's a Western but with magic and...you know what? Spoilers. More on this later.
What the heck is Pitch Week??
Alright, slowball question. Pitch Week is a competition where writers come together in Rochester, VT to share their manuscripts and marketing plans with a panel of judges from a publishing house. This year that publishing house is Green Writers Press, and I have been invited to take part in the competiton based on samples I shared from The Last Stand.
So what's your marketing plan?
All in good time, my friend. But in case you want a sneak peek, good news. This is part of it. ;)
|Here's an unrelated photo of one of my cats.|
Regularly Scheduled Blog PostOh hey look at that we've returned to the blog post I originally planned before you started asking all those pesky questions.
Deciding not to take part in NaNoWriMo was actually pretty tough. I have known about this self-led initiative for almost 20 years. In fact, without NaNoWriMo, The Last Stand would probably never have existed at all. I’ve been writing in my free time since I was in middle school and The Last Stand started as a story about my friends and I in the old west. Exactly two things exist from the original draft: the main character's red hair, and her love affair with the piano player at the saloon where she works. The original draft trafficked in played out tropes, stereotypical conversations, and two main characters with the same name. I don’t know what you expected, I wrote it when I was 13.
It wasn’t until college, however, that I started taking the National Novel Writing Month challenge: to write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days. After a couple of failed attempts with novels that went absolutely nowhere, I won for the first time in 2008 while I was studying abroad in Canterbury, England. At that point I had written plenty of other things since what was then called "The Western", including several other exercises in genre. But I couldn’t get the western out of my head. Every October while I toiled over what project to tackle, "finish the western" inevitably found its way on to my list of ideas.
Finally, in 2016, I took the plunge to either finish the book or abandon it forever. After several years of completing 50,000 words with ease, I also challenge myself to complete 100,000 instead. I fell shy of the goal, but ended with a draft that felt like a complete story. And so Draft Zero of The Last Stand was born.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? You may be asking. WHAT'S THE BOOK ABOUT? You're screaming to yourself and your fellow commuters as you read this on a train or something. AND WHAT IN THE FAT HELL IS DRAFT ZERO?
Guess you'll have to wait until the next post to find out more.