Finished my novel now what?
The last two words at the end of the first draft of a novel, I am discovering really should translate at least at this point, as the beginning of a long road.
So if you’re like me and you have finally made to the end of your novel then well done. Take some time enjoy your success. Treat yourself you deserve it. Read your favourite author, watch some movies feed your imagination before picking up your novel. Again.
Step one. Reread your novel from start to finish. Does it fit in the genre your aiming for? If you’re unsure then check out the publishing guidelines again, if you haven’t done so then I highly recommend you do so, Its a great aim at knowing what they want to see in a manuscript and what you want to aim for.
Step two Revise go over every chapter, dose every scene progress the story? Are the things your characters are doing adding to the scene or distracting the reader in information they don’t need?
Question everything. Is every lose end tied up, every question answered?
Step Three Rewrite. Don’t be shy to use the delete button, it’s your first draft it will need work. Characters, scene, and even chapters should be weighed up, go over your plot, can you make it better? I am re writing the entire last eight chapters of my novel. Deleting whole characters that I was very fond of. But really are not helping to progress the story, despite how interesting they are.
Step four. repeat the last three steps until you know that what you have is the characters you want, the plot, scenes and end all coming together perfectly. Now while you’re holding your manuscript in your hands decided right now if you’re up for what comes next? Half the dream is in your hands, but as all aspiring writers know rejection slips are bound to come. Face the fear and reach for your dream
Step five. Editing. There are few options for this, if you are well gifted with grammar and spelling and such things then you might be able to do this yourself. If however you’re slightly challenged with this, then I recommend finding someone else to do this for you. Be it a professional or a trusted friend. Presentation is important. Be professional from the start.
Step six. Make a list of the publishers that you think your book would appeal to; again go over their submission guidelines. Prepare your cover page and send it out. But keep the list so when or if that first rejection slips arrives you have reference to for the next publisher on the list to send it too.
Step seven. Constructive criticism. If you get any feed back look at it openly and honestly, what is your friend, agent, editor trying to say? Play it out on paper and see if the suggested changes do make it different, it could be in good way.
Step eight. The most important. Keep writing. Every day, study your craft but don’t get so distracted that you’re not writing. Research what you need for your next novel but keep writing.