Thursday, 20 September 2007

Novel Racers Update - Important

First I have to say I am impressed. We have had excellent feedback from thirty out of thirty five racers! Having heard from this amount, I printed off all 41 comments. There was consensus on most things – fortunately.

The strongest consensus was to cap the member at 40 so that we remain a small community that has a chance to know each other. This is achieved through the Novel Racers blog and periodic visits to all the racers blog. At forty we are now too large to say weekly. That came across loud and strong but I think visiting the personal blogs adds to the getting to know the fellow racers. Shoot me down here if you would like.

Next item of unity was now we are no longer required to link all the blogs individually BUT the Novel Racers’ Blog must be linked. That is straight forward. I personally will keep you all linked as that makes it easy for me to find you all J

There was a general feeling that that the blog should remain open to all comers and I agree with this. As Kate H pointed out the Novel Racers was brought life with the idea of a sharing community and that would be a good value to keep.

Next item was inactive members…It seems to be agreed that a gentle poke after three months would be the appropriate action especially if we have new people that wanting to join. Popping into the coffee on Fridays is a pleasure and with the rota now taking place it is giving us a chance to explore different writing topics so this is not an onerous request.

Now it was about 50/50 on the idea of Novel Racers 2,3…First let me say that I will happily keep a waiting list and I will happily support new groups. I am sure that there are other veterans who will help too. I think it’s a great idea to put cheat sheet as were on the sidebar to share what we have learned thus far on ‘running’ our community.

Regarding next years races there was little comment but I personally think it is important to run one as that is what started us in the first place (not just because I won a pile of books this year J). We still have time to sort out the details…

On another note, I don’t think Lucy can ‘retire’. As a founder she may take a long – however long that she needs – sabbatical. How does everyone else feel – including you Lucy?

So in recap:

We cap at 40 (currently I think there are three waiting to join) which leave two open spaces.

The Novel Racers Blog must be linked.

Friday coffee attendance is excellent for your writing so be there or otherwise receive a gentle poke (in three months)

The blog will remain open for all to view and comment

And these points seemed to be OK by all:

1. we should all be writers striving to write a novel no matter how fast or slow or what category or genre2. we are a support group and therefore positive3. doesn't matter whether published or unpublished (or should I say being positive pre-published)4. the Friday coffee morning is our key means of communication
5. the blog allows all of us to share our finds, our joys, our sorrows, etc.

So let’s here how much I have missed out on…….


ChrisH said...

Thanks very much, Liz. I think that's a really useful and accurate sumary of where we are and I'm happy with all of these points.

Lane said...

I think you've covered everything Liz and very well put. Are you a writer by any chance:))
I'll continue to link all racers because it's just easier to visit them that way.
Thanks for all your time on this. Much appreciated.

Cathy said...

What a great summary, Liz, and I think it is indicative of the strength of this group that so many put in their views.

I'm happy with all the points.


Helen said...

Oh Liz what a star you are. Thank you for sorting all of this out so well.. Yes, I agree with everything you have put.

If we do put a piece on the blog for future joiners that there is a waiting list to join we must emphasise that this isn't because we are cliquey but that we want it to remain a small supportive group which differs from the other communities out there.

And yes a novel race starting in January would be fab. I'm definitely up for that.

KeVin K. said...

The only change I'd make is something i suggested the first time:
> People who don't show up for three months given emeritus status -- we'll treat their spot as open, but we don't actually drop them from the roll (unless they specifically send us an e-mail telling us to get out of their lives forever). In this situation, our technical membership will grow to a bit over forty BUT our active membership will remain constant, or nearly so. Thus we won't have to boot anybody -- or make anyone who just got too busy for a while feel guilty about neglecting us.
This, I think, will address Lucy's situation and a few others.

Also, without violating a particularly aggressive non-disclosure agreement I signed two days ago, something has come up. I'm currently at about 50,000 words on Coastal, Carolina, my proposed 90,000 to 100,000-word mystery novel, BUT due a media tie-in writing/development project to which I've just committed myself, I'm not going make my announced deadline of the Monday after Thanksgiving. (The USofA Thanksgiving, which -- for those of you elsewhere -- is 22 November.) Thus while technically writing, I will not meet the "working on a novel" requirement for membership. I'd like to propose that that definition be adjusted a bit -- not done away with, because this is not the "working on something racers -- so that anyone working on becoming a professional novelist is eligible whether or not they're hip-deep in a manuscript at this moment.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I think you deserve a round of applause, Liz. You've put a lot of work into this.

I agree with everything you said. I like the idea of having an 'inactive members' roll, too, and concur with Kevin that if someone has their novel on hold it doesn't exclude them (that's what dropped me out of the race last year: I had to break to edit two novels under consideration for publication and put my manuscript for 'Chill of the Road' on hold.)

Mairi said...

I'm a random lurker and I just wanted to say how pleased I am that you are all happy for people like me to continue lurking!

I've really enjoyed reading about how all your writing is going and will continue to loiter in the shadows for the forseeable future.

JJ said...

You are brilliant Liz. Thanks for taking the time to sort this all into order. That all sounds fab.


Graeme K Talboys said...

Excellent summary. Many thanks for that. And I agree, although I think Kevin has raised a couple of important points. Most of my work is non-fiction and should I get a commission (unlikely, but I could do with the cash), I would have to shelve my novel for a while, but wouldn't want to lose touch.

Kate said...

Sounds good to me!

Kate said...

Me again. Can I get a W put on the end of my name so that there aren't two 'Kate's in the side bar...? or I could be know as Kate - Quilling Time. Yeah, I think I like that better.





CTaylor said...

Job well done Liz. Thanks so much for organising and collating all our comments.

I agree with everything you've written and I LOVE the idea of a new race in January. Hopefully I'll have finished editing HoWG by then and will be ready to start my next one!

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Liz,

Well done for being so organised. And thanks for putting me on sabbatical! I'd really like to come back at some point.


B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't think you've missed a thing, Liz.

On the subject Kevin brought up, I think Liz did hit it as well: ...all be writers striving to write a novel no matter how fast or slow or what category or genre. Both he and Graeme have novels they're working on, and even if they get a job that takes them away from that novel for a time, they're planning on finishing it. I think the only reason this particular point was brought up in the first place (at least IMO), is there are a lot of writers who only do shorts, or poetry, or NF. If someone has no intentions of writing a novel--haven't even started one, in fact--then being a member of something called the novel racers seems a little silly.

Just my two-cents.

Flowerpot said...

thanks Liz for all the hard work yuo've put into all this. 3 cheers to you!

Jen said...

I agree with everything really, particularly Kevin's thoughts on dormant Novel Racers.

Just on question though: if the premise of the Novel Racers is that we are actively writing a novel, no matter at what pace, how will a 'new' 2008 race affect those who are still working on the novel they started in 2007?

Oh, and I'm still planning to do something with one of these days. When I've finished writing my novel. Ahem.

Rowan Coleman said...

I think this all sounds good, thank you Liz for putting in the effort to collate all of the racers thoughts. I like Kevin's idea re dormant racers! See you for coffee in the a.m

Fiona said...

I really like Kevin's ideas for hibernating racers and also making it clear on the site that we're capping it at forty to help more people and not because we don't want more in our gang.

Anonymous said...

This is a great site to be part of. Thank you Liz for all your hard work. I will be at coffee morning tomorrow - I need some advice from all you expert writers.

Best wishes, Crystal xx

Sarah*G* said...

Thanks Liz. All sounds great. I was a 'lurker' for a while before I joined (God that sounds so seedy!) and it was good to read the blog and see others blogs. Very interesting, informative and fun!
Great stuff.

liz fenwick said...

HI All. Glad I seemed to have managed to tap most of it. I think B.E. hit was I was trying to get at with the writing a novel striving. We all will have times that other things will over take the novel be it life or other work or what ever. What I meant that Novel writing it a main objective even if its on the back shelf for a bit.

I think the Emeritus staus is good so I will daa that.......

Not to invite the new members who have been patiently waiting and holding their breath.

See all for coffee in a few hours :-)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Liz, thanks so much for doing all this. I agree with everything, including the 'periodic visits to other racers' - my own aim will be to visit, and comment, on each novel racers' blog at least once a month. I would also be happy to support new groups.

Glad to hear there's going to be a new novel race in 2008, as that will be excellent timing for me. I don't think it should preclude people whose novels are on hold for some reason, or who are concentrating on editing a novel rather than writing a first draft - I was originally allowed into the race when I was working on the second draft of my current WIP, and I was very glad to be able to take part. We need to recognise that some people write several novels a year while others take several years to write a novel. Neither are any less or more of a writer than the other.

Brennig said...



Why 'novel racers'?

Who is racing what, where, how and (most importantly)... why?

And having raced, what are the quality measures, and where is the evidence that the race produced quality output?

Just puzzled...


liz fenwick said...

First Kate W......tried to change your link on the side bar and no go. I could try and delete you then reinvite and see what happens then?

Hi Brennig. Way back a january a fairly small group us set out to see who was first to finish the first draft of a novel. No one checked.....we relied on honesty. Quality wasn't important wither. in fact racing was important - it was the taking part :-)

sheepish said...

Hi Liz, well done you. I'm afraid I was incommunicado last week so couldn't add any input, but what you have summarised seems excellent and what I think we all want.
I personally find it really good for my moral to know that I am not alone. Again well done particularly in view of all your recent upheavals.

Brennig said...

Quality in writing not important?

Now there's a point of view with which any reader (and surely any honest writer) would surely disagree!

DOT said...

Gaaa! I get distracted for a week or two and I miss all this important stuff. Thanks Liz a) for alerting me and b) for doing all this work.

I can only agree with everyone else. And I am glad you qualified that writers should be striving to write a novel no matter how ... slow. Phew!

liz fenwick said...

A pleasure DOT :-)

Caroline said...

Sounds great to me and I am so looking forward to the race next year. The novel race has focused my mind and meant that I completed my novel. Are we starting the next one in January again?

Bring it on .... :)


liz fenwick said...

Yes, next race in jan Caroline.

Brennig, quality is important but it's not for other racers to judge other racers, if you get my point. The Novel racers is a motivational support group, we don't critque etc we support :-) So the race is a moticational tool and nothing more........

wordtryst said...

Hi Racers,

Been lurking occasionally, commented a few times. Kevin Killiany has invited me to join the group, and this is my - ahem - application. If you've already reached 40 members, then I'll understand, and keep my visitor status.

All the best,
Liane Spicer

hesitant scribe said...

Dot - I so know how you feel!!!

Liz - you are soooo wonderful! All that hard work and very good ideas to boot. I agree with everything there and think the capping is a good idea. I really struggle to get around the blogs (and fail miserably, sorry) as it is!

Friday coffee mornings are particularly important too, and please feel free to add me to the rota (or if you have, let me know when it is?!!!).

As for the race in January - would it be cheating if I'm still writing the same one since last January (?!!!) with the excuse that my novel is part of a PhD and that is er... slowing me down somewhat, not least having to lecture in order to fund myself! Just a thought ;-)

I don't think you missed anything out - though doubtless you'll think of something later. Thank you for your dedication to this lovely little writer's group that is a source of some very real and beneficial support!

er... that's it.

liz fenwick said...

Welcome back Lisa.....hope it was fabulous trip. I am sure that you can be working on same novel....may were well into their novel when they joined last year. I'm let my subconious start thinking about ideas for the new race :-)

Thank you all your kind words.

NoviceNovelist said...

Oh so much has happened since I disappeared into the wilds of Scotland for a week! This all sounds very sensible and encouraging and I really look forward to next years race to get me started on Novel no 2. Thanks for all the hard work in summing this up Liz. It's good to be back!