TAKE A FEW DAYS OFF.
Then, PRINT your story and READ
it from beginning to end, to see if it
6. Ask yourself:
Would someone reading your novel be able
to follow the sequence of events without
any confusion or difficulty?
Think about movie bloopers where
something inconsistent or incoherent
happens. Are there any inconsistencies in
7. A noveldoesn’thaveto berealistic,butit shouldfeel
to thereaderlikea long,continuousdream.
placesinyournovelthatfeellikea disruptionof the
12. Next, read your draft again, from
beginning to end, but this time,
READ IT OUT LOUD.
13. In this phase, you’re listening for how
your novel SOUNDS.
• Does the dialogue sound believable, like real
• Does the dialogue always move the story
• Do descriptions take too long, or take away
from the action?
• Is the pacing right? Are there spots that seem
too slow or too fast?
14. Is everything accurate? Is there anything
you might have gotten wrong?
This is really hard and you may want the help of one or two readers you
can trust. You want to make sure that you haven’t made any assumptions
about society, nature, science, people or animals that are incorrect and
• If your story has a dog in it, give it to a dog owner to make sure the
dog’s behavior sounds realistic.
• If your story is about a person from another culture, give it to
someone from that culture.
• If your story takes place in outer space, give it to someone familiar
with science and physics so that they can make sure your scenes are
15. When you’re giving your story to someone,
BE HUMBLE. BE GRATEFUL.
Don’t argue with them. Take everything they say as
a GIFT. It truly is a huge gift of their time and their
trust in you, to be brave enough to tell you what
they think of your story.
16. After you’ve fully investigated any inaccuracies
or inconsistencies, and made sure your plot is
believable yet suspenseful, you’re done with
Draft #2. TAKE ANOTHER BREAK!!
During this break, read at least:
• 20 poems
• 3 short stories
17. Immerse yourself in great literature that you like,
and read it OUT LOUD.
Listen for the lyricism of the writing. This is a good
time to read “classic” or “award-winning”
authors—universally acknowledged good writers,
not beginners. Let these master craftsmen sink
into your subconscious so that you will internalize
18. Joseph Brodky, How to Read a Book, 1988:
19. CHAT CHALLENGE:
List three poets that you like, and that
you’re going to read during the break
between your 2nd draft and your 3rd.
23. After you’ve read some poetry and stories, read your book
again. This is the time to get out a thesaurus and look up
some of your most common words and phrases to see if
you can find a new way of expressing the same thing.
• Expressions you’ve heard before
• Metaphors you’ve read before
• Any words, phrases or punctuation you repeat a lot
30. Use different types of sentences.
Highlight each instance of passive
voice and consider maybe changing it
to active voice.
• The forest fire destroyed the whole suburb.
• The whole suburb was destroyed by the forest
33. Once you’ve revised it this time, you’ll
have a strong 3rd draft and it’ll be time
to start seeking the opinions and
feedback of readers!
REMEMBER YOUR CRITIQUE
ETIQUETTE. BE HUMBLE. BE GRATEFUL.
34. That DOESN’T mean that you have to revise it the way
someone else tells you to.
This is your book. You’re the only person who can revise it
while preserving the original intent. If they say something
is inaccurate or incorrect, fix that.
But if they say: “Why don’t you write it like this…” DON’T.
JUST NOD AND SAY THANK YOU. Then rewrite the way
YOU would rewrite it.
35. Whenyou’rereadyto finda readerto give youan
honest critique, use the “Forums”tab at the top of
the NaNoWriMosite to findthe “Critiques and