NaNo, Where’d Ya Go?: The Next 5 Steps Post-WriMo

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Or turkey. Or something vegetarian. Heck, for many of you out there, yesterday was just a Thursday. No matter what you did or whom you were with, hope it was a good one. 🙂

As for NaNoWriMo & SavvyAuthorsEntangled Smackdown, I won because I met the word count goals, but the story ain’t over yet, kiddos. Here’s the skinny:

Week One: 17,850 words

Week Two: 16,383 words

Week Three: 18,820 words

Week Four: 15,822 words

Running Total: 68,875  words

These numbers are up until yesterday’s total. Scrivener seems to be messing with my mind because the project stats show the figures and the session word count. The session number made sense so when I went to plug in the project total into the NaNo site, it said I wrote more than 2K above my total which I still don’t get. Wrap your noggin around that one.

Either way, I’m still rallying to up the count and will continue until the story’s done–dur. That would be the wise choice, yes?

After a month of slaving over the words, we’re left wrought with emotion. To borrow a line sung in a show I watched, once upon a time, “Where do we go from here?”

Let’s bring together a couple of awesome fandoms. Please enjoy this vid while I collect myself.

This week on the Forage, let’s look at five possible next steps to take now that we’ve gotten the NaNo out of our system–or have we? Some might say we’re gluttons for punishment. Others would agree with that first lot. 😉

1) SLEEP. 

Ah, I remember it, though but a wisp of a memory. Even if I don’t sleep outright like a person without a 30-day gruelling writing schedule, I think I should at least rest my eyes more than I have for the month of November.

2) Mmm, whatcha say?

When you wake up in mid-December–I kid, I kid–read through that puppy top to bottom, left to right, and all that, but do it straight through. Resist the urge to even THINK about going back and correcting passages. At least, not yet. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a vicious cycle–of Imogen Heap. Is it really all for the best? Of course it is… not.

It’s important to read the story as your potential audience would. Things to note: flow, consistency, potential plot holes. It is very possible that a character named Judy in Act One is suddenly named Carla in Act Three. It happens. Keep an eye out. If you absolutely must, take notes in a separate notebook/file, but NO HEAVY EDITS!

3) Put your story away–for a little while.

You’ve been in your characters’ heads and they’ve been in yours for the last month. I think it’s now okay to see other people. Ross and Rachel did and it turned out alright in the end.  You’re better off coming back to the work with fresh–and rested (See #1) eyes–when it comes time to revising the beast.

Go into NaNo withdrawal cold turkey (pardon the topical pun). Do something very non-WIP related to clear your mind. It’ll make the process easier to dive back into when you resume your writerly efforts.

4) There and back again.

When it’s time to be on-again in your on-again off-again relationship, grab the WIP by the sagging middle and whip it into shape!

You can do this by continuing to support your fellow writers who all understood the joy and pain that transpired in November. Alas, I’m not talking Turkey dinners with the fam, Thor: The Dark World or The Day of the Doctor.

Critique groups are a great way to see if you’re on the right track. Other ways are to look into online (or in-person) events that cater to revising and polishing your hard work into something shiny. (More on that in my December Goals blog post this Sunday).

5) Keep on keepin’ on.

NaNoWriMo may be over, but the writing never stops. Keep writing. Continue your current WIP, revise an old one, start something new, though you might want to finish all the unfinished first, natch.

Like with all skills, our writing gets better with practice. In line with this, keep reading, too. You read enough, you’ll see technique, you’ll see story elements that may or may not work for your own writing. Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning.

It never stops. Neither should you.

Thanks for sticking with me this November. In less than forty-eight hours, we get to do it all over again. See you on the other side.

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