There are goals and then there are commitments.

In October I posted my sort-of intent to participate in the NaNoWriMo madness. (National Novel Writing Month for those of you not yet tuned into this annual event.) And because it wasn’t an actual commitment, I of course fell well short of my pseudo goals. The reality behind those goals?

1. Write. I did not write every day. I enjoyed the spring-like weather of the Lehigh Valley with hikes and gardening and perhaps simply basking in the sunshine. I wrote sometimes because that’s what I do—but not prolifically.
2. Finish. I do have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But only 26,000 words. And even now at 77 days, my first draft is not even close to completion. But I am persevering.
3. Focus. Writing my mystery was constantly—well, almost constantly—on my mind. But it was not even in the race for being my primary job for the 30 days of November. Or the 31 days of December. Or the 16 days thus far of January. But I am tracking my progress.
4. Caveat. It’s not likely that I will have a completed manuscript–not even in the rough–by July as I had kind of aspired to.

But I will keep moving ahead and finish this first painful draft.

Then I will submit my manuscript for developmental editing. I will restructure the plot and character development based on the recommendations.

Then I will submit it for copy editing and adjust my formatting and style–and accuracy–accordingly.

And I will then submit my improved manuscript for line editing. I will tweak my grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency and word usage based on my editor’s input.

Then I will read the manuscript aloud, mark it up, and edit again.

And yet again.

These are commitments.

All good things each in their own time. Perhaps I will be like Aesop’s famed tortoise and win the race through perseverance. In that case, of course, the hare is the part of me who fails to meet my NaNoWriMo half-hearted goals, stopping to smell the roses along the way. Or dropping whatever I’m doing for a spontaneous outing. Or whatever. The tortoise is the part of me that will keep crawling slowly but steadily toward the goal post and finish the race.  With finesse, of course! Eventually.

How did you fare with NaNoWriMo?


To fix or not to fix?

Alas. My book is well into its 5th month of being offered on Amazon and just now I’ve made a mind-numbing discovery. Or rather my son did. On my very first page, I refer to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park as ‘Wolf’ not ‘Wolfe’s’. It boggles my mind! I remember doing the research, discussing it with several Mainers, and making sure that Wolfe’s Neck State Park and Wolf’s Road were properly identified throughout the manuscript. However, somewhere in all the editing iterations—developmental, copy, line, etc—and spell checks, ‘Wolfe’s Neck’ became ‘Wolf Neck’. Was it a gremlin or am I my own worst enemy?

I reread my book before each book discussion and still I was oblivious. I wonder if anyone read my sample chapter on my blog, caught that obvious faux pas, and decided against buying the book. Certainly anyone from Freeport would have noticed, perhaps anyone from Maine would even notice. And certainly anyone like myself who grew up in Freeport and who knows the trails of Wolfe’s Neck State Park almost as well as their own backyard would catch it.

Worse I responded defensively. I offered excuses. (Well, colloquially locals refer to it as Wolf Neck.) I explained the lengths I had gone to in order to avoid such a faux pas. I even was annoyed: why hadn’t he read the first page before this late date? Belatedly I followed rule #1: accepted the input, thanked him, and now will decide for myself what I’ll do about it.

Should I reissue my e-book with the correction or leave it alone until I submit it to a traditional publisher along with Book II next year? What would you do?