You’ve just finished NaNoWriMo! Congratulations! Now what?
You did some or all of NaNoWriMo? That's awesome! It's a lot harder to write a book, or even just to write daily, than people think.
Take a break and pat yourself on the back. What you just did isn’t easy. Give yourself some credit!
Take an actual break and put the work away for at while. Forget about the story.
Re-read your manuscript. Most writers get stuck at this point, either due to anger or to overly critical self-judgement. Read the book in a format that you CAN’T edit it. Use a Kindle or e-reader, or read it on your phone. If you don’t have these options, you can always print it out.
Read and don’t judge. Take note of all the big-picture items you’d like to improve: character motivation, plot holes, missing clues or red herrings. Write down all of the things you want to focus on in the first round of revisions. Yes, first. Psyche yourself up for at least five rounds of revision.
Look at your notes. What are the three major issues that must be fixed for this story to work? Focus on those three things only. DON’T rewrite the first chapter of your book over and over. In fact, pretend your first chapter isn’t even there—you’re probably going to toss it eventually!
After you’ve revised, ask several people to read the manuscript. Don’t ask your Mom. Ask people who will a) actually read the book and b) can actually give you usable feedback. The last person you want to read this is someone who will say, “Nice job, well done.”
Once you have this feedback, revise. At this stage, consider a manuscript critique to get professional feedback.
Take another break! Then start at the top of this list again!
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