NaNoWriMo is Over! *Alas*
December 01, 2011
We are at the end. The end of everything. Ok, that's a little melodramatic, but we have reached the end of November...and thus the end of National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo may be coming to a close, but this is hardly the end for budding authors. Preparing a manuscript involves a lot of steps, and this is just the first one.
NaNoWriMo is all about word count, motivation, and blind devotion to a deadline. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is sometimes the hardest part. Are you feeling like a failure because you didn't reach your goal? Stop that! You are attempting to write the great American novel! That takes time. No one said you can't keep writing. Write until you are satisfied that your novel has "good bones" as my grandmother used to say. Details can be added, but the major plot points need to be there.
First draft done...you've officially entered phase two! Editing! Most authors will tell you that editing is what separates a would-be novelist from a published author. Critiquing your work, finding the weaknesses and strengths—and even deciding what to cut—is key to achieving the polished finish that we all admire in a good book. Here's a great article with some pointers. Here's another. There are many methods: DIY, ask a friend, pay someone. Choose what works best for you.
My advice: step away. No one likes what they just finished writing. Close your eyes, go play on the computer, eat some junk food, or read a book. It depends on the person as to how much time away you need. When you feel ready, go back and read it again with fresh eyes. You may be pleasantly surprised.
When you start to get discouraged, remember this: Water for Elephants was written during NaNoWriMo! There are success stories, a lot of success stories actually! I'm currently on the hold list for another success: The Night Circus. For you winners out there: CreateSpace is printing five copies of your finished novel for FREE for those who qualify.
Need more motivation? You're in luck, March is officially NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month). Of course, there's always next November :)
South Independence Branch