Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post-NaNo Editing Checklist!

Congrats to all the NaNoWriMo winners!! 50k in one month? Ya'll are definitely my heroes.

If you didn't win, or didn't participate (like moi), it's cool. Something is better than nothing, right? Right.

So. Since the end of NaNo is upon us, I thought I'd talk a bit about what you'll all be doing this December. And by that, I mean one word: r-e-v-i-s-i-o-n. 

*cue evil laughter*

Okay. December is Revision Month. And in order to tackle Revision Month, you need to take things one step at a time (so you won't go insane). 

Ladies and gents, I give you the Post-Nano Editing Checklist!

1) Read your first draft without editing.

Just get a feel for your story and how you wrote it down, not how you envision it. That part comes after you've finished reading the manuscript. But you are allowed to make comments along the way, like put something in bold with the words "this sucks out loud" in blue font or whatever. That way, you'll know where to find what to fix.

2) Put first draft aside and brainstorm.

Take a sheet of paper or a blank Word document and write like there's no tomorrow. What are you going to write? Any new ideas/scenes/chapters that come to mind. You can also make a list of what works best in the first draft, what needs to be improved, and what needs to get cut. The more time you spend brainstorming new ways to tell your story, the less you'll pull your hair out during revisions.

3) Tackle little things first, then go for the big ones.

Don't try to fix everything at the same time. Sure, if you work better that way, go for it. But if you're susceptible to dementia like me, go slow. Maybe you think Subplot #1 is an easy fix, but it's not as important as Subplot #3. Trust me--everything in your manuscript is important. Why else would you have written it? Take your time to work on loose plot threads/unclear world building first, then dive into character goals and motivations/theme/voice. Or vice versa, if you consider the latter easiest. In the end, it's all up to you. 

4) Send to crit partners and/or betas

Another set of eyes is needed for any manuscript. Yes, you think yours is awesome, but someone else needs to agree with you. They'll spot problems you never saw coming, and might even make better suggestions than the ones you came up with during Brainstorming Session. Just make sure you mull over every bit of advice your crit partner/beta gives you, then apply what works best for your story. 

5) Rinse. Repeat... until you can't find anything else to fix.

So there you go. This December is going to be soooo much fun, right? Right.

Tell me: do you follow a different set of rules for edits? What's the Post-NaNo experience like for you?


Stina said...

I'll be sure to check this out in Jan when I get ready to edit my wip. I didn't finish it during November (too busy), so my goal is to finish it by the end of December. :D

Pam Harris said...

Loved these rules. I think I'm going to wait until my 2-week holiday vacation before I even attempt to look at my NaNo novel again. :)

Golden Eagle said...

Great checklist! I'll have to come back to this post when I get around to edits. I'm still writing the first draft!

JJ said...

Yours is a nice, simple checklist. I'm afraid mine is so intense it may be a little overwhelming, but I like to break things down into a ton of steps so I can have lots of ticks (or gold stars!). I think editing after NaNo is a lot harder (and more time consuming) than the actual writing in November!

Anonymous said...

Brainstorming, yes I'd love a writing partner to help with that stage LOL! :O)

Anonymous said...

December? I was planning to let mine cool for a month thant tackle it in January.
I love your steps tho.

Kell Andrews said...

Great steps, Amparo, Nano or no Nano...

Amparo Ortiz said...

Thanks, Kelly!! I try to stick with my own steps, but it gets hard sometimes. The key is to convince yourself it's all worth it in the end.

Happy writing, everybody!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

This post rocks! I love suggestions for revision, since it's sometimes like wandering around in a dark, misty forest for me. I'm bookmarking this for January when I foresee finishing my "nano" novel. :)