Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life After Nano (Day 28)

Today I read a blog post talking about NaNoWriMo (it was during a word war when I was supposed to be writing, but don't judge me!  I got my words for the day done early,  I swear!)

Anyway, in this blog post (which I'm sure wasn't actually intended as negative toward Nano) they basically said that nano isn't the end all of writing.  That at the end of the day it doesn't matter.  That getting the first draft of any book done isn't the biggest step.

Of course, I know that nano isn't the last step you need to get published.  You can't finish a book and hand it over, expecting them to give you money for it.  An author once visited my school and told us about the writing process.  He glossed over a lot of it, of course, as he was talking to ten year olds, but the basic thing that I came away with was LOTS of drafts.  So, I've always been aware that this isn't an easy thing to do.

The thing is, though, that I don't necessarily agree with everything that he said.  No, the first draft isn't the end of writing.  You can't finish writing the first draft and assume that you're done.  And if you're doing something like nano (which can create some real crap writing, when you hit a part that you can't figure out and know you need to get the words, so you just write down whatever you need) then you really need to go back and look over your work.  Not just for the spelling mistakes, but for everything.  Plot holes, faulty character development, the stupid ball, and even bad choices.

But without that first draft, without getting something down on paper, there isn't anything there to edit, to double check, to get beta readers for, and finally to submit.

For me, that first draft came with Nano.

Yes, I know that 50k words doesn't generally a complete novel make.  I knew that the first time I wrote nano.  Of course, that year I did end up doing 50k novels, but just because the goal of nano is 50k doesn't mean that you have to stop there.  You can keep going!  Keep writing.

For me, Nano has blossomed into a novel nearly ready for submissions, and multiple novels awaiting my attention.  A critique group who occasionally dabbles in writing exercises, and something to work toward (in case you're wondering, I'm hoping the Nano will one day ask me to do a pep talk for them.  Step #1: Get Published!)

So, yes, there are so many more steps after finishing the first draft (especially if the 50k doesn't finish off your story) but Nano doesn't promise you something ready to submit.  That's not the point.  The point of nano is to make you pick up the pen (or, generally more common, put your fingers to the keys) and get writing.  Get started on putting down that novel that's been running rampant in your brain for years.  Make those characters talk and prove to yourself that you can do it.

Then, come December, remember that Nano just starts the process for you.  YOU have to be responsible for the rest of it.  It's up to you to keep writing.  To fearfully look back over that first draft, certain that you won't be able to keep anything.  To find those diamonds surrounded by the crap that you can really build a novel from.  To rewrite as much of it may need to be rewritten, and to finally show the world that, yes, you are a writer!

So hold those heads up high.  Shout to the world that Nano helped you accomplish something you never thought you world!  And don't ever let the world tell you that what you've done so far isn't an accomplishment, because it is!  Then, keep going.  Don't give up!  One day, those words will be polished enough for you to show another person.

Happy Writing.

What do you plan to do once Nano is done?  Have you ever managed to go back and edit a nano novel?

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Daily Word Count: 15,296
Total Word Count: 270,391


  1. Your word count is awesome, I wish I could write that much in 1 month.

    As for what I plan to do after Nano well that's easy a lot of editing, not my story but other peoples. Oh the joys of being a beta, especially those that are impatient.

    I attempted to edit my novel from 2010, well I stopped as I forgot what the plot was and the story was a crossroads. I do however want to edit my story from last year, it'll take me a while though since it has a lot of cut and paste.

    1. Editing is a great idea, and I hope that you can find some time between the beta reads to do your own. If you ever need help, I'll probably be on to be doing my own editing ^^