So I’ve crossed the NaNoWriMo finish line, which just goes to show that if you know the story you want to write, the actual writing goes a whole lot faster. Who would have guessed?
Once you finish, you might feel a little down in the dumps. That amazing rush of fighting to make it to the end is gone, and now you’re left with a manuscript that is definitely flawed. But don’t despair. Here’s a few tips to help you out.
1. Finish the story. If you crossed 50k and aren’t done, finish the book. Trust me. You’re going to lose momentum fast, so ride that wave as long as you can. If you need to skip some sections to get to the end, do it. Finishing a book is the hardest part.
2. Read it through. See your whole story as one unit, not a day by day thing. This will give you a better idea of character arcs, plot lines, or the dreaded plot hole. And sometimes, unfortunately, a book just isn’t that great. It was a good exercise, but it isn’t going anywhere. I’ve given up on two NaNo novels, but kept two for future editing. Sometimes they have promise, sometimes they don’t. Even if you despair, keep the manuscript around. You might be able to pull ideas. Or, someday, you might read it and realize it’s not so bad after all.
3. Take a break. You’ve earned it!
4. Don’t take a break for too long. After a while, maybe a few weeks or a month, start reviewing your novel. Add scenes that you cut out for time. Fine tune. Cut what didn’t work. Start the editing process. Trust me, editing can be just as fun as writing, and just as rewarding.
Don’t let winning end the NaNo experience for you. You’ve still got editing, revision, rewriting, and all that fun ahead of you (if you decide your books is worth it). November 30th isn’t the end of the ride – it’s just another beginning.