It‘s been over a month since the end of NaNoWriMo and chances are, your manuscript is sitting untouched on your computer. With a new year comes new goals and setting a goal to revise your NaNoWriMo manuscript is a great one. Not only will revising your manuscript get you to write more every day, it will also make all of the work that you put in during November worth it. It may be intimidating but if you put your mind to it, you can make your manuscript into the novel that you always hoped it would become.
The first thing that you should do before you edit is to read any outlines that you created, and then read your manuscript. Reading all of the material you have on your novel will help you get back into the world that you created during November. Be on the look out for any inconsistencies, but don’t edit your manuscript until you’ve read the entire thing. In order to successfully edit, you will want a full picture of your story before you begin to revise it.
Once you have read your manuscript and any notes that you have with it, it’s time to make a new outline. In the rush of November, you may have left out scenes that would have made more of an impact on your novel. You may also notice that you have written scenes in a different order than you want them. Before you begin to edit, make sure that you have a new outline so that you know what direction to go in.
Now it’s time to revise. You don’t have the time limit that you had during November, so take your time. If you noticed inconsistencies in your setting, it is okay to completely restructure it. If you want to add more scenes, take your time writing them. During this revision period, you will have plenty of time to add the details, subplots, or the ending that you didn’t have time for during November. When trying to catch grammatical mistakes, remember to read your manuscript out loud. You will most likely notice if a sentence is worded awkwardly if you speak it rather than read over it. Even if you only edit for twenty minutes a day, you will notice a big difference in your manuscript over the next few months.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to delete. Yes, you worked incredibly hard during November and that work should not be discredited. However, as you restructure your novel, some scenes may no longer fit. Don’t feel bad about deleting large portions of your manuscript in order to improve it. If you want to successfully finish your novel, you have to be prepared to do lots of rewriting. As painful as it will be to watch your word count initially plummet, you’ll feel better when you have a much stronger second draft.
If you have any tips that you used while rewriting your NaNoWriMo manuscript, please feel free to share them in the comments. If you decide to make 2015 your year of revision, I wish you the best of luck!
Until next time,