A year ago I was lucky enough to gain a place on the unique NWS after having heard so many positive things about it. The RNA only accepts 250 writers into the scheme and the hotly contested places are allocated on a first come, first served basis each year. Applications for 2017 scheme are now closed. For more information, please click HERE.
When I joined in January 2016, I'd finished my novel and was in the process of editing it to the best standard I could ready to submit it for my first ever full length critique. I'd been told to try to avoid the rush closer to the deadline of August 31st. Everything went according to plan and I submitted in May and received my reader's report back before the conference.
In that first year, I gained so much from my decision to join the scheme. A detailed and positive critique - thank you, dear Reader, whoever you are! - gave me the confidence and motivation to edit my novel still further. I am now in the process of trying to find an agent/publisher for that novel. I attended my first conference where I attended one-to-one sessions with editors and agents, one of whom was very generous with her time. I got to meet many other writers I only knew beforehand on social media.
And on to year two. Things are very different this year so I'm looking for advice. I've planned my new novel and written about 9000 words. My question is do I try to finish the complete manuscript by August 31st or do I do what I can by a certain date? If the latter, I would then concentrate on editing what I've written thoroughly and accompany it with a very detailed synopsis. Is an unfinished but polished submission better than a complete but unedited novel?
I've searched back through some RNA archives and it would appear that there are advantages and disadvantages with either approach:
- As long as the partial manuscript is accompanied by a really detailed synopsis, then the Reader should be able to see where the novel is going and what the story line is. Thorough editing should show what the quality of the writing will be like after redrafting and revising the finished novel.
- The completed novel, on the other hand, would show the reader the story in its entirety and show the novel's structure, pace and how effective the ending is. However, the critique may contain several points you know you'll pick up on when you start to revise and edit the first draft.
- The shorter the partial, the harder it is for the Reader to give the help and advice they'd like. Here, the importance of the synopsis is greater.
I shall knuckle down and get as much of the novel written as I can and see how far I get. Making the decision is months away yet but I'd love to hear about your experiences.
What do you think?
Have you submitted an incomplete novel for a critique?
Did you find it helped you finish the first draft more easily?
Did you submit the same novel the following year?
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