Last year I wrote a post with a big list of things to do with your newly minted NaNoWriMo manuscript, including doing manuscript exchanges, finding beta readers, and hiring awesome editors. (See red-hot editorial deal below.)
- Write down summaries of what your scenes are, like a storyboard or an outline. You can do this on the computer, on Scrivener, or on note cards. You can make a wall of post-it notes, which is fairly satisfying. Write down what is actually happening in each scene, even if that’s “Character A and Character B talk about feelings for 3,000 words and I don’t think it actually matters oh gosh.” Yes, this process is a pain. Yes, it is important.
- Was there pointless stuff that you put in to pad your word count? Identify it. Cut it out unless you know it’s flax you can spin into gold.
- Check in with your characters’ motivations: does what they are doing make sense? If you were to explain your plot to another person, what would be the first “why did Character A do that?” question they would ask? Would you have a decent answer?
- Check for plot holes. Imagine a compassionate, yet confused reader is asking you to explain how your story goes. Where would they have a hard time?
- I am all for making up personas for my internal editors. As much as we were ignoring our editors during November, we’re gonna need to pay attention to them now. But pay attention to which editorial voices are helpful and which ones are not. I have an editorial persona, “Anton,” who is exactly helpful; he’s the voice of the literary community that eschews genre fiction, that scoffs when I haven’t read the entire literary canon, that tells me writing a comic script without an artist is foolish and superheroes aren’t literature. So why do I even have conversations with Anton? Because he’s a persona who I can shove all those negative thoughts onto. I sit down for an editorial session, and instead of despairing about the fact that I wrote six issues of superhero comics, I can think of Anton, set him aside, and then do the work. In terms of POSITIVE editorial voices, I think of my real-life writing mentors: Susan Kim, Rachel Pollack, and Corinne Manning, among others. I think of friends who are good beta readers, even before I actually give my manuscript to them to beta-read.
And finally, I want to go ahead and repeat my deal from last year:
Yes, I would love to talk to you about your NaNo! Yes, I would love to talk anything from “how does plot go” to “where can I sell this” to “how do you sentence.” Yes, you.
Yes, I will charge you money. I am a freelance wordsmith, and stuff like this is how I buy groceries. My NaNo Winner Special is $16.67 for a half-hour manuscript consultation, $33.33 for a one-hour manuscript consultation, and $166.70 if you want me to read your entire manuscript first (and then chat for an hour). That is stupidly cheap; even the editors at a print-on-demand service charge $200 or more to read through and give you basic editorial feedback. I’m happy to meet with you via chat or Skype (or in person if I know you and you’re local), whichever feels more comfy. I also offer proofreading services and line-editing. Even if money is an issue, contact me; let’s talk.