Why You Shouldn’t Query Your NaNoWriMo Piece

It’s November, that means – along with Movember – we’re in NaNoWriMo, the time of year when skads of people sit down and do their best to pump out 50k words in a 30 day period.
I started Nano this month… which, I’ll be honest was a bad idea in hindsight, for 3 reasons.
#1. I have something hanging in the ether – and I’m rubbish at finishing other things when I’ve got that little unknown floating about.
#2. It’s the end of the year, when my average w/c drops like nobody’s business.
#3. I ended up moving the second weekend of the month – inciting stress induced lack of motivation!

But I have written a first draft in under a month before. My beta and self-proclaimed biggest fan, Katie, challenged me to write a draft in a month. 20 days later I had a 72k word first draft.
But. The problem with pumping out something that quickly, is this:

That’s what it looks like when you edit something written with that much haste. (also, for an adult Science Fiction novel, I’m about 18k short of the generally accepted word count for that sort of novel.)
This was novel #5, I finished the first draft in August of last year…. And it’s still worse off than novel #6 and the first draft of #7.
And that is why you shouldn’t query your NaNo piece – as soon as December 1st comes around. It won’t be ready. Edit. Edit. Edit.
Writing a novel is step one in an extremely long process. Don’t skip  steps 2-6(all of which are “revise!”)

Are you doing NaNo this year? Hit any stumbling blocks this year?


  1. That red line isn't that bad for a first draft. And isn't that the point of NaNo, just finish 50,000 words of a first draft?

    Do people query them?

  2. Matt, according to Agent blogs/twitter feeds, yes. I think that people who don't know anything about the publising industry are the ones that finish NaNo with 50k words and think that they've written a full novel (and that they don't need to revise it.) I didn't know propper w/c lengths until I did a bit of research when I was starting out.

  3. I love that SF that you wrote, even though it is short. It's refreshing, you know? Obviously I understand you revising it to get the w/c up, which I'm excited to see the changes!


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