So you finished NaNoWriMo and have a 50 000 word novel on your hands. Now what?
I won NaNoWriMo this year, and now I have a novel, the same as so many other NaNo winners. Some people need to actually finish their novels, because although they won NaNoWriMo, their novel is going to be longer than 50 000 words long. Good luck to you. Don’t slack off on your writing just yet.
As for the rest of us, now we have to get beta readers and start revising. I’ve got at least two beta readers who are running through my novel to find pacing problems, plot holes, characterization issues, and anything else that doesn’t make sense and needs to be fixed.
So, do you have a beta reader? I did a post on beta readers a while ago. But to sum it up, a beta reader is looking for loose ends in your draft and letting you know so that you can tie them up. Sometimes that means adding or deleting scenes, changing things around, or throwing your computer out the window. Try not to do that last one, because as frustrating as revisions can be, they are still necessary.
I already have tons of revisions in mind, because my draft was very bare-bones. All I was doing was trying to get those words down. Sometimes I got writer’s block, but I still had to forge ahead to get to the next milestone. This is the problem with a lot of NaNoWriMo drafts, because you’re plugging away and need to just spew the words on the page.
Well now is when you fix the problems you created during the writing process. At least you don’t have such a huge deadline for revisions. I would suggest, however, creating your own personal deadlines in order to make sure you actually finish it.
Revisions are hard, and sometimes you have to be hard on your draft. Like I said in my beta reader post, make sure you choose readers who aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings by pointing out problems.
I’m doing that right now, so fellow writers, we’re all in this together. Hang in there.