• 3-minute read
  • 29th November 2016

NaNoWriMo: The 5 Things that You Need to Do Next

Having read our NaNoWriMo blogpost at the beginning of November, we imagine you’ve spent the past month tapping frantically at your keyboard in order to get your novel finished.

Or typewriter, if you prefer to keep it ‘old skool’.

If you’re nearly done, we offer you hearty congratulations! If not, don’t worry: you can keep working on it until you do, since NaNoWriMo is just a bit of fun rather than a final deadline.

Either way, once you’re finished with the first draft, there’s a few things you should do before sending the manuscript to publishers.

1. Take a Break

OK, technically this is more advising you not to do anything with your NaNoWriMo creation for a while, but it’s important because: a) you probably need a rest; and b) taking some time away from your novel will help you get a bit of critical distance before you begin editing.

Try using this time to do things you haven’t done enough of during NaNoWriMo, like reading for pleasure, catching up with friends, or sleeping instead of sitting up all night writing!

Definitely not 'quality rest'. (Photo: Aaron Jacobs/flickr)
Definitely not ‘quality rest’.
(Photo: Aaron Jacobs/flickr)

2. Re-read Your Novel

So you’ve taken a break. That means you can start editing now, right?

Not quite. First, re-read your novel without changing anything. This will give you a better sense of how well it works as a whole, especially whether there are inconsistencies or plot holes that need addressing. Make notes as you read, too, as you can use these during editing.

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3. Begin the Editing Process

And now the time has come. Editing can be a long process, though, and usually requires going over your novel a few times, so patience will be needed. The first pass should focus on structure and the story, with each draft gradually refining your work and weeding out errors.

Remember to save regularly while editing! You never know when this might happen...
Remember to save regularly while editing! You never know when this might happen…

4. Have Someone Else Read It

Even professional authors have editors to give them feedback, so having someone else read your NaNoWriMo novel is a great idea. Since they won’t be as familiar with the work, they’ll be able to give you a better sense of how the wider public might respond to your writing.

Choose someone whose opinion you trust for this, as you’ll need to use their feedback to do more editing before you have a final draft. If they’re good at proofreading, too, that’s definitely a bonus!

5. Time to Get Published

Finally! Your novel is finished and ready for publishing. But how do do this?

The first option involves approaching publishers and literary agents. The best route here is to check the submission guidelines on the publisher’s or agent’s website. If you can’t find any information on this, try emailing to ask about their preferred process.

The technology is more up to date, but the principle remains the same.
The technology is more up to date, but the principle remains the same.

These days, however, self-publishing is an increasingly popular choice, especially with the option of publishing an e-book making it much easier. There are many companies that offer this service, so do some research to make sure you find the right one for your needs.

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