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After "the end"

I finished the first draft version of my NaNoWriMo novel a couple of days ago, typed "the end", and looked at the screen with a feeling of relief and the thought "now what?".

I liked how the story flowed along, and felt the ending worked out well. The characters kept surprising me all the way through, but still it was satisfying wrap up this second novel, part two of Due North. And it was nice to see it end with maybe a hint as to where we could go for a part three. 

It took a while to get those last words in though. I "won" with about 55k words by November 30th, but then it took me until now to add another 16k and get me up to 66k - maybe 180 pages so far. Sure, I had Christmas shopping and celebrations in there, and a week in Toronto, but the main thing was that there was no real deadline, no push to get in those 1667 words every day and add to your online count for all to see. And now, my next steps will be to start editing my novel - both novels actually, as last year's didn't really get tuned up and this year's novel is a sequel, so depends on part one somewhat. I did a lot of reading and thinking in between the two NaNoWriMo's too, so the first novel will need more adjusting, to character arcs and sub plots and description and dialogue, etc. etc. So will the second one, but it may need a boost to the action - I didn't have the same enthusiasm some days so just added whatever came into my head - I'm sure the characters were looking at each other wondering why they were there. Never have done a lot of editing before though, so have have no idea how long it will take, or how to measure/schedule it. My readings indicate I should plan for several editing cycles, starting high level with overall plot elements and flow, then gradually working down to line editing - looking for typos and punctuation errors. At some point I'll need to get some outside editing done too - either bribe a learned friend or hire a professional. To get there, I'll need to start with a couple of hours a day I think, and see where that takes me. Hopefully I'll still like my books by the end.

I wrote earlier about my "resolutions" for this year, my three words to concentrate on - Focus, Health, Writing. As part of Focus, I want to rein in a bit my enthusiasm for sparkly things, and the corresponding procrastination of the duller things in life - like taxes and houescleaning. For Health, a nudge to my habits - eat less, exercise more - part of all diet plans I'm sure, but I'm looking at a lifestyle change I can sustain for more than a few weeks or months. For Writing, some scheduled time for editing, as well as involvement in some writing challenges, and more blog posts. All the above are all nice sounding goals, my challenge will be to break them down into daily and weekly objectives that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely). I'm always trying to push that approach to groups I'm involved in - usually unsuccessfully - so now it's my turn. We'll see how that goes.





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