And it is over.
All the hustle bustle, panic and over finishing and reaching your goal is over. Officially it is over. Now that it’s over it’s time to think about what is next. For those who are still writing, the obvious next step is to continue writing. Just because the month is over and NaNo will no longer count your words, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to finish up your project. However for those who managed to complete their novel it i now time to edit your work until it is complete. Everyone will be ready for next steps so I’m going to spit out some of the advice I’ve picked up over the past couple of years since I’ve started participating in NaNoWriMo and writing in general.
Edit it once, then edit again
Many people take the words of NaNoWriMo to literally. They think that because NaNo says to turn off your inner editor that you should. For the month of NaNo, it can be fine. It’ll get you to focus and write if that is what slows them down. If you shut off your inner editor in favor of speed there is a good chance that you need to go back and edit. Heck, even if you crawled through the process you would probably need to do at least one editing pass.
Recreate your outline
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that even those who wrote with an outline deviated from that outline. One helpful tool for writing is having an outline. It allows you to see the framework of your story, what happens and the connective tissue. Without an outline you have to wing it (which is totally possible). Recreating your outline allows you to see where your story deviated from the original plan. In the case that you didn’t originally have an outline you can see the structure of your story. You can then easily see what elements may need to go and which are useful to keep or expand.
When you write, things come up. Things that you probably need to keep track of. This can be done in your sparkling new outline or it can be done elsewhere, but there are most certainly things that you want to make note of. For instance, I wrote a fantasy novel with multiple races, cities, and magic. I kept a chart of who was what race, where they were from and what their skills were. I also kept a chart of all the different spells available, how they were executed, their result, and how frequently they were used. Keeping all this information allowed me to keep everything straight and now how prevalent something was in the story. Even if you are just keeping track of all the different characters that will be helpful.
Don’t submit your project yet
You may be excited that you’ve finished your NaNoWriMo novel. I’m fairly sure that I don’t need to tell anyone that submitting to an agent or publisher so soon is a bad idea. Sure, your story may seem just perfect, but in reality it’s so far from that. The only way I’d believe that your novel produced in one month is ready for submission is if you don’t have a job and were able to devote full time hours (with overtime) to get the novel on the page and edit it so quickly. Heck even then, I would still let it simmer because just because you produced a full novel ready to go, doesn’t mean you have the necessary materials at the quality they need to be.
What will you do next with your NaNo novel?