Writing Tips

NaNo’s Over. Now What?

NaNoWriMo is over. I hope you got to 50k! Even if you didn’t, it’s okay. You’ve got more words than you did at the beginning of November. Now comes the dreaded question of, “Now what?” Well, that depends on where you are.

  1. Finish! Didn’t finish? That’s the first thing to do. I’m guilty of stopping here and never finishing, but if you want to publish, it’s what you gotta do.
  2. Already Finished? Reread the whole thing. Yes, top to bottom. You might find what you thought was horrible really isn’t that bad. Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe you rambled on for 10 pages about food or clothes or trees.
  3. Rewrite. Take the time to go back and delete those 10 pages of rambling. You’ll lose words, but you’ll most likely make it up somewhere else.
  4. Make someone else read it. That’s what friends are for, right? Not always, but let somebody else read it and give you comments. Try for someone who’ll be honest and constructive.
  5. Do some more editing. Really, it never stops. Writers are notorious perfectionists but editing can’t hurt, really.
  6. Have a different person read it. Have them read the new version. Have the first person reread. More eyes equals more variety of responses. Be careful not to let them affect your perception too much, however.
  7. Nitpick. Yes, nitpick the tiny stuff now. The grammar, the sentence structure, the flow of paragraphs. Make them shine and glitter.
  8. Whip up a query letter. It sounds so simple when put that way. Really, slave and cry over the wording of a one-page letter.
  9. Dive headfirst into submissions. Send them out! Get letters back! Edit more! Cry! It’s all part of the process.
  10. Get published. If you’re lucky. If the stars align. If you have a good book and find a publisher. If you go the self-publishing route. Just do it.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. There’s marketing and sequels and whatever else to think about, but if you’re looking for guidance, here it is. Pick a step and take it! Who knows what might happen. The publishing world is a big, scary place but you too could end up there and be quite content.

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