• 3-minute read
  • 30th November 2017

NaNoWriMo – The 5 Things to Do Next

It is the end of November. That means two things:

  • We can start panicking about how soon Christmas is now.
  • You may have just finished your NaNoWriMo novel.

If the latter applies to you, congratulations! We hope you enjoyed your novel-writing binge. And if you’re wondering what to do next, we’re here to help.

1. Take a Breather!

First of all, rest. Or catch up on work you’ve been neglecting. Or watch so much Star Trek on Netflix that you start hallucinating that you’re a member of Starfleet (that’s always our first choice). It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you take a break from your NaNoWriMo novel.

Now is the time to get a bit of critical distance. Try leaving your manuscript for a week or two before going back to it. Or, even better, leave it for a month and make editing your New Year’s resolution!

2. Re-Read Your ‘Masterpiece’

Next, re-read everything you’ve written. Be prepared, though: it might turn out that your ‘masterpiece’ has a few rough edges. By re-reading the manuscript and taking notes, you can work out what needs editing. Look out for plot holes and inconsistencies in particular.

sky ditch eye hole
Hopefully, any holes in your plot are smaller than this one.

3. Start Editing

Editing your own work can be hard, since you might not want to change something that you’ve put a lot of effort into. But it is worthwhile. Try these tips:

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  • Edit a little bit each day – If you can sit down and edit for an hour each day, you’ll soon find you’re making more progress than your realised.
  • Start big and narrow down – Editing usually involves several passes (i.e. read throughs). To begin with, you should focus on the overall structure and plot of your novel. After that you can move to refining your language and correcting minor errors.
  • Be brutal – You might like that twenty-page section about your protagonist’s rock collection, but are you sure it adds anything to the story? Editing is all about trimming the fat. Cutting passages that aren’t essential to the plot could make your novel more exciting to read.

4. Find a Friend (or Proofreader)

Once you’ve made a few edits, ask a friend to read your manuscript. A fresh pair of eyes will help you find issues you have missed. And they might have feedback on something you never considered!

If you don’t know who to ask, you could hire a proofreader or editor. Incidentally, had we mentioned that we offer a novel proofreading service? Just throwing it out there, y’know…

Typos. Must. Be. Destroyed.
(Image: volkspider/flickr)

5. Get Published!

Once the editing and proofreading is done, your NaNoWriMo novel is ready to publish. One option is to find an agent or publisher. If you’re not sure who to approach, check their websites for submission guidelines (this will tell you both what kind of writing they deal with and how to submit).

Alternatively, you can self-publish. There are many companies that offer this service, so you should do a little research to find a company that suits your needs. Whichever method of publication you choose, though, we look forward to seeing your book in the bestseller charts soon!

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