This week is the first in a series of posts about editing my NaNo novel, The Gathering.

Wondering where to start editing your NaNo novel?

I’m going to share the processes I use, but like with all writing practices, some might not be what works for you. Feel free to leave your questions or share your tips in the comments’ section of this post.


By the end of NaNoWriMo I had 52,700 words, but at the moment, that’s all they are…words. The story arc is there and I have my main characters and my setting but there’s a lot to do before it becomes a cohesive story.

As I mentioned last week, while I was writing my NaNo novel I made a lot of notes about things that needed adding/deleting/fixing.

Here are some of the problems I identified.

  1. plot inconsistencies
  2. scenes in the wrong order
  3. inadequate setting detail. Need to establish the location of certain things and keep it consistent
  4. Fix time and place inconsistencies
  5. Insert some plot clues earlier – use foreshadowing
  6. Address character inconsistencies
  7. Develop character’s reactions and emotions

I have a list of things that need to be added and that’s what I’ll be focussing on this week.

At the same time, I’ll be developing a time line. This is really important in any plot. To do this, I’ll use a Calendar and insert the relevant events on the appropriate days of the month. This is probably something I should have done as I wrote, but under the pressure of NaNoWriMo I was reluctant to stop to fix anything or take note of details. I find this slows the momentum of my writing and can stop me from moving forward.

If I get all that done, I’ll be happy. In next week’s editing and post, I’ll be going back to my brainstorming diagram that I did before I even started writing the novel and looking at things I can do to develop plot and sub plots and make connections that will add layers to the story and develop the themes.

So these are the next stages in the process that I’ll be talking about in coming weeks:

1.  Revisiting my original brainstorming and plot diagrams and seeing how they can be developed.

2.  Looking at plot

3.  Examining characters and voice

4. Doing a scene by scene edit

5.  Doing a detailed line by line edit to spot typos and make the language work harder.

6.  Showing the ms to my crit buddy and reworking the ms according to her feedback

7. Leaving the manuscript to sit for at least a month before I print the whole thing out and read it again.

Good luck with your NaNo edits. I’d love to hear how you work post NaNo.

Happy writing and editing:)


7 thoughts on “MY NANO EDITS – WEEK ONE

  1. This sounds like a really good plan. I like the idea of putting things on a calendar to create a timeline. When the time comes for me to edit, I think I will borrow this technique. I’m looking forward to reading about your editing process. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Sounds like a plan! You’re so organized, I know your editing is going to go well.

    One thing jumped out at me about my novel from your list. I’ve already done an overview glance at it and can see it will be much better if I flesh out the perceptions of the boys with those of adults around them – including the mentally ill ones. You listed “character inconsistency” and “foreshadowing.”

    When I bring in these additional points of view, I need to show the character inconsistency in the mentally ill characters and why it took so long for anyone around them to notice it. Also show the patterns recognizably so that any reader who’s experienced anything like it can nod and go “Oh, I see what’s coming… oh boy” and get even more scared.

  3. Thanks, Robert,

    I find that by being organised, it helps me get some of the clutter out of my head and be able to see things with more clarity.

    Foreshadowing is usually something I add in later drafts too, as the story pulls together more. I try to make notes of things like you have mentioned as I’m writing so that I know where they need to go, but every draft I make a new set of editing notes for the next one.

    Sounds like you have a great story. I’ll be really interested to hear about how it changes and develops as you edit.

    Happy writing and editing:)


  4. Thanks, Alison,

    I’m glad you’re looking forward to seeing what emerges because you are probably the first person after me who will see it lol.

    As always, thanks for being such a fantastic crit buddy, parenting guidance counsellor, listening ear, true friend:)


  5. Hi Dee,
    this looks like such a solid plan.

    I’m in the midst of revisions as well. Loads more world building needed, and foreshadowing, and character inconsistencies. In fact, I might print out your list at the top there and pin it to the side of my computer.

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