Writing AND Revising Your Novel


Writing and revising a novel is such a big job! It helps to break it into stages.

Writing AND Revising Your Novel

Nanowrimo is catching the excitement of more and more writers as they try to dash off 50,000 words during the busy, busy month of November. Getting the first draft down on paper is a very, very good thing.

Then, it’s time to see what you have. Novel Metamorphosis has several ways of evaluating that first draft to see what you actually did, as opposed to what you thought you did.

Then, it’s time to put on the thinking cap. Some would say it’s time for the left brain to make a few decisions after the right brain got to play so much in that first draft. What needs to be strengthened, changed, omitted (yes, omitted!), added?

The next stage is one of taking it day by day, chipping away at the tasks you’ve identified. This is where Katherine Paterson’s sign-above-the-desk is appropriate: Before the Gates of Excellence, the Gods have placed sweat.

Unexpected Steps

filing cabinetOften, though, there are some unexpected steps in the process. For example, there’s the Stick-it-in-a-Drawer-and-Forget-it-phase. Many of us have experienced this discouraging phase, often triggered by a small well-meaning comment by someone, a class that points out deficiencies, or just a sudden boredom with the character, plot, setting, etc. You just can’t face it another day.

Another unexpected step is the sudden insight. Maybe we should expect this step, if we’re slogging away at the thing, but I’m always surprised by the sudden light that tells me just where to go next in the story.

Unexpected, but delightful, is the sale of the mss, which sends us into both despair at the revision letters from the editor, but exaltation that the story will reach readers – finally.


If November is NaNoWriMo, then shouldn’t January be NaNoRevisoMo, the month for revisions? And what month is the NaNoResurrectoMo, the month to pull things out of the drawer, resurrect the story and revise? Would that be March?

Here’s your challenge: If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, then do this:
November — Nanowrimo
January — NaNoRevisoMo
March — NaNoResurecctoMo

What other Nano—Mos do we need?

  • Ann Finkelstein
    October 30, 2008

    When is NaNoQueryMo? :-)

  • darcy
    October 30, 2008

    Oh, that’s a good one! Maybe it’s February?

    November — Nanowrimo
    January –NaNoRevisoMo
    February — NaNoQueryMo
    March — NaNoResurecctoMo

    What next?