Since 1999, November has been known to writers as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and once again it has come and gone. According to the National Novel Writing Month website (nanowrimo.org), 384,126 writers took up the challenge in 2016 (stats for 2017 not available). The event has produced some best-selling authors, including Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), and Jason Hough (The Darwin Elevator), just to name a few.
So, if you’ve buckled down, you’re probably looking at your 30,000-50,000-word manuscript and wondering what to do next? This is where we can help.
First, congratulations on finishing a novel during NaNoWriMo! That is a great accomplishment. Before rushing to upload it to Amazon and publishing it for e-reading devices, let your story sit for at least a week. By putting it out of your head, you can then read your manuscript with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised at what you catch.
The next step would be a critique. Join a writing group where you can share your manuscript with others and obtain valuable feedback. A different set of eyes will point out flaws in your timeline, inconsistencies, and give you gentle suggestions for which areas in your story may need attention. In return, you read their novel and offer your insight and suggestions. The other option is to hire an editor to read through your novel highlighting areas which need revamping, and give you an evaluation of your story.
After you address any issues it’s time for editing. Even though there are books available which have “self-editing” in their title, it’s best to have a professional read through your words for grammatical errors, as well as any holes that may exist in your plot. There are many editorial websites where you can upload your manuscript and have it edited, but keep in mind these websites won’t catch discrepancies in your story. For example, your character leaves their house in a Corvette to head to the beach, yet arrives driving in a BMW. An editor will catch this, a computer program will not.
The last step is to have your manuscript proofread. This is your last chance to have someone, other than your readers, catch any minor errors. This is best done after your book has been laid out. A proofreader can mark any pages where a correction is needed and send it back to you, your printer, or publisher.
Please feel free to checkout our website (www.jacobswc.com) and let us know if you have any questions. We love helping writers!