What to do with your Nanowrimo novel?
Or any other novel that you may have written in a short span of time.
No matter how well we write or how many hours we’ve spent on something, when we work on a project in a condensed period of time, we’re very liable to miss things. We’re simply too close. We know what words should be there. We know what the descriptions are trying to say. We understand what the dialogue is referring to. We know. Because it’s all in our heads and not just on the paper.
The best thing to do is set the story aside for a time. Put it in a drawer, label it draft one and give yourself a specific date when you can take it back out. I recommend something between 4 to 12 weeks. During that time, work on other projects, get your brain away, far away, from the project you just finished. That way, when you come back, you’ll be fresh.
Another really good piece of information to know is that agents and editors are often a little wary about the influx of stories they receive in December and January, thinking that these new novels/queries are messy Nanowrimo novels. So it’s best to give yourself a little time and space away from that bias.
Once you’ve come back to the story, do a thorough edit. You should have forgotten the words by this point and be reading things fresh, allowing you to catch descriptions that aren’t clear enough, words that could be read in two different ways, plot threads that end up not going anywhere, characters that switch personalities, etc.
After your edits, you can send out to your beta reader if you want, get a critique, do more edits, craft a pitch and a query, etc. Do all the things to liven up your novel and get it ready for submission (or publication).
One thing you don’t want to do is forget about your novel. Don’t let it sit forever. Make sure you have that date to go back to it. Make sure you open it back up knowing that it will need work, but that it isn’t awful and anything wrong can be fixed. That you do have something worthwhile in your hands. Don’t abandon it.