Congratulations! You’ve finished NaNoWriMo. Now what?
Whether you reached your goal or not, any attempt a writer makes to work on his or her art is an achievement. But now that it’s over, what’s the next step? Although my attempt at NaNoWriMo last March didn’t accomplish what I hoped, I do have some advice for whatever shape your story is in, come December 1.
Let It Go
At least for awhile. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that NaNoWriMo is held in November. But the one advantage of doing it in that month is that December follows it and everyone is usually so busy in December that a writer really doesn’t have time to keep working on a novel started in November. And that’s perfect.
I’ve found that once I finish a story, I need to let it sit awhile without looking working on it at all. Times vary. Some writers need to leave it alone for only a week, others, a month.
For my latest short story, I worked on it over several months and then submitted it. Of course, after I let it go, an idea for improving the next to last line came to me weeks later. So I contacted the editor of the anthology. She said she hadn’t started editing yet, so if I had changes, I should go ahead and make them. As I dug back into the short story, I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly it read. Except for one part, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. So I changed the next to last line and the dialogue in the scene that didn’t make sense. Stepping away from it for several weeks helped me see where the story needed work.
Edit, Edit, Edit
January will probably be a good month to bring your NaNoWriMo novel into the light and see how it looks. Now is the time to edit. No one writes a perfect first draft. If you haven’t edited a fiction story before, ask for advice from writer friends, check out writing blogs, borrow writing books. Editing will only improve your novel, and your want your novel to be the best it can be.
How was your NaNoWriMo? What are your plans for finishing your novel?