We wrapped up the series “You’ve Finished Your NaNo Novel, Now What?” last Thursday. Here’s a recap in case you missed any posts!
Writing is fun! But sometimes you need a break. When you’ve finished your book, it’s a good idea to take a week or so and focus on other things. Ideally, you want to avoid any writing at all, so that when you come back, you’ll have totally fresh eyes.
Rewriting is important… but it can be so much less fun than writing. The first step after you’ve taken a break and you’re ready to come back to your novel is to go over the story and make sure it’s consistent and has a theme all the way through. You’ll be adding and removing scenes, changing details about characters, and fixing the consistency of the book.
Once that’s done, you have to go through the book again, with feeling. Well, you’re considering your readers’ feelings anyway. Going through scene by scene, find out if you broke things when you were doing your last rewrite. Tighten up transitions, make sure that characters’ choices still make sense, and see if character development needs more work.
The fourth step is to fix the plot holes. You need to call someone else in, whether that’s a professional editor or a friend who will be honest with you, and have them read your book carefully. They’ll look for things that come out of nowhere, flaws in your world building, and twists that you give away on accident.
Then, you have someone go through the book line by line to ensure that each scene makes sense internally and to catch places where you need more clarity. This is where you take what should be a complete story and polish it so that your readers can see it through the words on the page.
Finally, you get to share! Find beta readers, have them read your book, and ask them annoying important questions about the plot and characters. Make sure you haven’t missed anything of staggering importance before your book is ready for the world.
I’ve spent a lot of time proofreading the last couple weeks, so on Thursday, we’re going to talk about some common punctuation errors that trip authors up and can lead to awkward conversations with your editor.