How to Know You’ve Finished Writing Your Novel

NaNoWriMo is a great time to get a start on writing your novel, but how do you take your rough draft you’ve written during NaNoWriMo and make into something that might be of publishable standards? In today’s blog post I’m going to talk about how you can go from first draft to a manuscript that is ready for publication!

Word Length

Normally when you’re writing a novel you don’t pay too much attention to word length, but in all technicality, a novel isn’t considered a full-length novel until it’s 50,000 words. But even if your novel is 50,000 words, that’s still pretty short. To put it into perspective, my first novel Essence was about 80,000 words and my second novel I am Mercy is about 110,000 words. 50,000 words is the bare minimum length of a novel, but it’s only the starting point. At the end of the day it’s not the word length that is important, but the story you tell.

Draft One

If you’re a NaNoWriMo participant, then odds are the novel you’re writing has a long way to go before it’s considered done. Your NaNo novel may be just a very rough draft that you’ll come back to and re-write later, or maybe it will just be a first half of the full story you want to tell, either way, don’t stop until that story is told. Fill the pages with emotion and characters that you connect with on a personal level. When you feel like you’ve written everything there is to say, then let the first draft of your novel sit for a while. Don’t look at your draft for 30 days so when you re-read it later you’re seeing it with fresh eyes. Most of all, give yourself a pat on the back for finishing a draft of a novel.

Many Other Drafts

As you continue working on your novel, you’ll go through multiple drafts. Essence went through ten drafts before it was published and I am Mercy went through five. There is no limit on drafts and always know you can add and delete pages or even entire chapters until you feel your story is being told correctly. In Essence, one of my readers’ favorite scenes is a chapter that I added in very last minute and it’s funny for me to know that because that almost wasn’t a part of the story at all.

When You’re Done

There’s no real way to know when your novel is truly done. No matter how many times you go through your manuscript you’ll always be making small little changes over and over. But you know when you’re done when a weight feels like it’s been lifted from your shoulders. You’re no longer feel like you have to have a notebook on you everywhere you go in case you think of something for your novel. Instead, there’s a sense of relaxation because everything is written down. And that’s how you know you’re one step closer to have a finished novel. The final step? Publication. Finding a place for your novel out in the world.

That’s it for today’s blog post! To learn more about publishing be sure to search my website using the keyword “publishing” for videos with step-by-step guides to getting your book into print.

Lastly, tell me in the comments below how you know when you’ve finally finished writing your novel.

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