The “Now What?” Months are here! In 2014, we’ll be bringing you advice from authors who published their NaNo-novels, editors, agents, and more to help you polish November’s first draft until it gleams. Author Melissa Landers provides a blueprint for laying the structure for your final draft:
Greetings, fellow Wrimos! I’m Melissa Landers, and I understand your post-November angst. Four years ago, I had just come down from the high of finishing my very first novel. The elation had faded a bit, but I still felt like a rock star… until I read my manuscript and realized what a hot mess it was.
I had faith that there was a great story buried beneath those 50,000 hastily-written words, but I didn’t know how to unearth it. No one had ever taught me to write fiction, let alone edit it. So I spent the next year and a half in a constant state of revision, gleaning what I could from self-editing texts and critique partners. I rewrote—not revised, but actually rewrote—Alienated five times before it sold. But in the sage words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
To save you a heap of suffering, here are the editing steps I wish I’d taken: