Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Comes Next? NaNoWriMo Withdrawals.

As NaNoWriMo draws to a close today, the inevitable realization hits you. This whopping X-word novel you've slaved over for the past month is a collection of words, a jumble of mish mosh, a pile of steaming....well, you get the idea. Yet, do not despair! Help is on the way. Are you ready?

*Throws confetti* 

Oh wait, you hate editing you say? You'd rather be ripping out your hair and burning it over a fire? Me too! Oh, sorry, that's not you? You love editing. *Glares* Well, that's great, actually! How did you fall in love? Tell me your secret, please. For me, editing is mind numbing torture. It's trying to figure out the best pieces of a puzzle and realizing you probably don't have all the pieces. So, you add pieces, take away pieces, sand other pieces into a pile of sawdust, and tadaa! You're only just beginning.
After you've edited your work so that it sparkles all shiny and new - or at least you THINK it does. How can you possible tell when you haven't seen the light of day for weeks while hiding in your editing cave? - you pass it on to beta readers. These are the brilliant minds who will tell you all the things you've done absolutely wrong. Okay, so usually, they say it much nicer than that, but still it is their job to point out what's working, and more importantly, what isn't.
Good beta readers are worth more than all the gold on the planet. Do NOT take them for granted. Do NOT ignore their suggestions. Allow their ideas to percolate in your mind - like a fresh cup of coffee, mulling it over takes time - for at least a few days, preferably a week. Pay special attention when the advice comes from more than one beta. Fix the parts that resonate with you, and stick to your guns for the parts that don't - it is your story after all. But, ALWAYS thank them for their time and feedback.
Editing is your friend, even when it is a nasty PIA. As the joy of NaNo - or any day you finish that first draft - wash over you, take a step back. Feel proud of your accomplishments, but understand that writing is a process. If you jump into submissions prematurely, you're negating all of the hard work you've already done. So, let it breathe, step into the light of day, spend some time with family and friends, then jump back in. Drafting is all about getting rid of the blank page, but editing is where the story comes alive.


  1. Yeah, my NaNoWriMo project is a complete mess. I love revisions more than doing the first draft. So I'm totally looking forward to editing. I can't wait to flesh out the skeletal plot I have right now. :D

  2. Editing is my favorite part (don't hurt me).

    It's easier to work with something that you already have and pick at it until it's better. But you're completely write. Let it stand for a while. Don't rush your book for representation prematurely. :)

  3. I have a love-hate relationship with editing. Some days I love it. Others..
    But I do have to agree with David, sometimes it's easier to work with something that is already there and make it better.

  4. I'm a freak. Editing is my BEST friend. I love it to pieces. Sick and wrong, I know, but it is what it is. :)

  5. I LOVE the editing process...I feel like it's almost as much fun as writing the entire novel itself because you come up with ideas you didn't think of when you draft. That and the feeling you get from making a scene pitch perfect! :-)

  6. I think my issue with editing is the number of passes. The first draft is one pass, even though it is many many many writing days. But, editing it feels like I'm going over and over it. I'm going to try the one pass method to cut back on some of the editing and maybe, I will grow to like it more. :)