Write here, write now
National Novel Writing Month is the perfect time to tell your story, says DIVA’s Books Editor Kaite Welsh
As you might have spotted, there’s a bit of a theme running through our November issue. But whether you’re an obsessive bookworm or more of a casual reader, you’ll have noticed one thing – despite the incredible talent of the LGBT community, there still aren’t enough queer female stories on the shelves. If we want media that’s truly representative of our lives and experiences, we have to make it ourselves. Luckily, National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner. NaNoWriMo, as it’s known to aficionados, takes place every November and participants are challenged to write 50,000 words of a novel over the month – if that sounds intimidating, it works out as 1,667 words a day. Anyone can take part – all you need to do is sign up at nanowrimo.org where over 400,000 other writers will be hanging out in the forums, swapping plot twists and cheering each other on. You’ll get regular writing tips emailed to you over the course of the month from famous writers like Neil Gaiman, and by the end of it, you’ll have a first draft. It’s like magic, if magic involved a lot of coffee, swearing at Microsoft Word and working out which characters to kill off (hint: not the lesbians. This isn’t 2016).
While it frequently tops the list of professions people most wish they had, writing can be a lonely, badly-paid (if at all) business that involves 40% perseverance, 40% inspiration and 20% sheer good luck. It’s also the most fun you can have with your clothes on – in fact, you don’t even have to be dressed! Between writing your killer opening sentence and collapsing over your keyboard at “The End”, you get to go on a journey where you design the map and the only rules are the ones you make up.
Although it may not seem it at the time, writing a novel is the easy part. If you want to be traditionally published, you need an agent who will then try and find you a publisher. Since the boom in self-publishing, some authors have been questioning whether agents are really necessary, but if you’re in this writing gig for the long haul and want a sustainable career, you’re going to need someone who knows the industry inside out. They have the contacts and legal expertise to make sure that you not only get the publisher who’s the best fit for your work, but that you also get a fair deal. In return, they get a small percentage of your earnings and your undying gratitude.
You can read the rest of this article in the November issue of DIVA, available now at divadigital.co.uk.
And don’t forget to vote for your favourite author in the inaugural DIVA Literary Awards: divaliteraryfestival.com/diva-literary-awards.html
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