NaNoWriMo Day 30: Closing Comments


Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes William Tiernan's excellent coverage of The National Novel Writing Month has, sadly, come to a close. If you haven't gotten a chance to read his month long journey, read through his previous posts to get a feel for the narrative arc, or so to speak. Be sure to leave your closing comments as well!

There are so many bits of NaNoWriMo advice to offer before starting this crazy process.  But now that you’ve reached, or are about to reach (I’ve got 876 words to write today) the finish line, here is one final NaNo “Do” and “Don’t” to consider:
Don’t, under any circumstance, use your NaNo as a pitch point in a query letter. As in …

Dear Agent,

Guess what? I did it. I really did it. I just finished my first NaNo! Yeeehaaw for me! High fives all around! 51,987 words, with 8,453 coming on the final day. What can I say, I finish strong. 
What’s that? Oh yeah, my book. Well, it’s hard to describe. It’s titled, A Political Romance: A NaNo Project. It’s a political thriller with a sleazy romance twist. But enough about plot. Let’s talk marketing platform. The fact that it’s a NaNo project will make my book jump off the shelf. Who wouldn’t want to read a novel that was produced in just 30 days? A NaNo is a true testament to the writer-at-work.  People will see it like the reality television of books. Plus, minimal editing for you and the publisher you sell it to; it’s supposed to be “rough,” right? Plus, the nature of the project will allow you and me to get on an annual plan. Rest assured, every December 1 you’re going to have my new NaNo in your Inbox.  Nothing like a little consistency in a turbulent profession.


NaNo A. NaNo – NaNo Master
Do use your NaNo as a springboard

You’ve worked hard on your NaNo, but do remember it’s not a novel. At least not yet. Your NaNo will be best treated as a glorified outline, the draft before the draft before the first draft before second draft before the third draft before the final manuscript. It will be like J.K. Rowling’s napkin notes of Harry Potter; or the blueprints of the Eiffel Tower; or the bill that becomes a law; or Peter Parker before the spider bite; or the …

Okay, you get the point. For those who finished the journey, pat yourself on the back, tuck your NaNo away, and let the thing mini-hibernate. Break it out in a week and study it carefully.  Show it to a trusted colleague. Mine the nuggets. Pitch the garbage. Rewrite. Revise. Create a workable first draft. And so on and so on until your NaNo has evolved into a polished manuscript you can pitch with confidence. When you land that agent, the mania of NaNoWriMo will have been worth it.    

Thanks for following along this month. How many words did you end with? What’s your title? Genre? Tagline?
See you next year!


WilliamSTiernan William Scott Tiernan will happily respond to “William” or “Scott” or “Tsung Chi” — and he enjoyed being called “Mr. T” by his former middle school students. He doesn’t enjoy being called “Hey, you!” by his 3-year-old daughter. He may be 0-1 on NaNo, but he’s written for
YourTango, The Laurel of Asheville, Western North Carolina Parent, and of course, WEbook. He’s seeking representation for his YA novel, Dornoch Walking.


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  1. Very good advice! I’ve been wondering what the impact of NaNo will be on the marketplace over the next few months - because I have no doubts some will query. I ended up with a glorious disaster of a word fit in the neighborhood of 52k, but the edit process could easily take months. For me, NaNo helps a writer achieve the following:
    1. The habit of writing every day (or at least on some sort of deadline).
    2. Developing a detailed beginning, middle, and end - quickly.
    3. Co-inhabitant conditioning. NaNo is a great training exercise for friends, family, and even pets! More often than not, those around you won’t take your writing seriously unless YOU do, and NaNo forces a writer to put his/her work FIRST.
    Congratulations to everyone who managed to complete their projects! And thank you, William, for sharing your journey with everyone here the blog. This has been a harrowing experience in Writing 101 and now the real work begins!

  2. I am disappointed because I failed to find enough time to reach my goal this year, but I definitely had not been doing poorly when I had been able to. I was roughly doing 2200 words per day. I'm definitely looking forward to next year when I will have plenty of time to finish my novel within one month.

  3. I ended up with over 58,000 words (near the end I was completing 3,000 words a day), but my novel will take approximately 2-5 more chapters (at 3-4,000 words a pop). This was my first year and I was very impressed with myself as I went along.
    My NaNo project was a retelling of a fairytale and I'm not sure I could have come as close to completion as I did if it had been anything else because it gave me a very general outline to draw from. I'm going to shoot for a story entirely my own next November.

  4. WeBook is site is a fraud. They put you through all sorts of crap, (saying it's free) but when you try to write anything, it's $3.95.

  5. @ML Smith, we actually have tons of free places you can post your writing! To get started, try starting a project in our community section:
    It's totally free, and you'll get loads of feedback from other writers.
    Hope this helps!


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