It's Nov. 30 and I am honestly burned out. I couldn't start re-working on my novels (I went crazy and wrote two in November) until sometime I can't imagine in the future. Anyone else need a break? And how long are you breaking for, what's a good idea? And what do you do in the meantime?
I'm curious to know how long others break, too, actually. I've always waited 3 months, which I think is sort of the "standard' advice you hear about how long to let your novel sit before beginning revisions. However, I'm actually kind of excited to get to my revisions sooner than that. I definitely want to take a break - partially for the reason you mentioned, I'm kind of burned out, but also because I know it is valuable for me to put some distance between my head and the manuscript. In the past, there have been problems with my first drafts that I couldn't see until I got some distance on it. But I'm wondering if I really should wait a full 3 months, or if less time would be okay.
In the meantime, I would usually either write a new book or work on revising an older one. Right now, I'm going to finish up a fanfic I'd been writing - I just have on chapter left to write. Then I'm going to begin revisions on my Camp Nano novel from earlier this year. Not only has that draft been sitting for a while, but I think I'm in more of an editing mood right now than a writing one.
I always have a break. I need emotional distance from it to get into the right frame of mind for editing. I usually want at least a month, but in the past it's been as little as two weeks and an long as six months.
My first NaNo and second novel. Finished the first draft today (30 Nov!). Already want to start revising it but will park it until the early in the New Year. As others said already on this thread, I need to get some distance and I see one month as a minimum, perhaps a bit longer.
I did NaNo because my first novel has been stuck in 'perpetual edit' for over a year. That started as a 7K short story that 'sort of grew' into a 75K novel, unstructured and without my having worked out scenes or characters beforehand. I left it a few months before editing it but it turned into such a nightmare it stopped all other projects, including a story I had started four times before. The four false starts story is the one I tackled again from scratch for NaNo - but with a plan, this time!
December will probably be spent working out a plan to rewrite the first novel - back to basics: plot, scenes, character sketches - but definitely a rewrite not an edit. I also have a third idea, completely different, that I want to start mapping out and which will need substantial historical research (though it is sort of a steampunk SF). Those two projects should give me enough distance to start editing the novel I just completed.
I am a first time NaNo and found myself revising/editing as I went.I reached my 50,000 on 11/25/13 and tried not to stop and edit but could not help myself. I did okay and now find that re-reading it is going smoother because I revised as I went. MAybe next year I'll just loosen up and try it another way.
I like to wait until I have a draft of another novel completed. Then I'm not editing the most recent thing I wrote, and it feels more relaxed and less pressured to me. I've actually been going through the traditional publishing route this year, which has lengthened the whole process, and I'm just now about to edit my 2012 Nano novel.
In my opinion, you know you're ready to edit a story when you first start to feel the slightest inkling of indifference to it. There's no way to edit your work when you're too emotionally attached, but being seriously disinterested is just as bad. You have to find the neutrality that falls in between.
I find that my brain does some re-writing even while I am writing the novel. I think of some contradictory info. and have to search for it and correct it right away.
I agree that it is good to get space so you can look at it objectively; on the other hand, I don't want to forget sections that I know I need to re-write/revise/tweak.
With a couple of other "novels" I wrote, there came a point when I didn't want to dive back in anymore. This one is one I started some time ago, got away from it, let it lie. NaNoWriMo provided me the incentive to pick up from where I'd stopped and run with the story. I'm still not done with it, so I'll finish and then see about serious revision. I did not include my previous words in the word count. Only the material I've written since Nov 1
I got done with my novel November 28 and was so happy to just be done with it. it was a rushjob, the plotline only developing as I wrote it and the ending completely surprised me as something happened that I had been trying to avoid. now its done and I really just need peace from it. I wanted to have some free time again, perhaps actually read some stuff instead of writing something. now its sunday and I'm bored out of my mind and itching to write something new and fresh and different, to use ideas that I had while writing the novel for NaNo...
I really wonder when I will touch it again, but probably not before next year. maybe around spring, when everythings fresh and vibrant again, perhaps I'll be able to add a bit of life to it then, because I feel that it lacks exactly that. It was supposed to be a vibrant emotional tale and I'm not sure I got that part right... hum... sorry for rambling...
My novel developed as I wrote as well. I started with a very rough idea. I can't look at it yet though. I see many people wait until after the new year but I don't think I want to go back until April or May. My editing eye will be better then.
Myself, I'm itching to get on with the editing. My novel just sort of grew and wound up being a couple of stories mixed together. I used the Scrivener software and wrote scenes out of order, just as they occurred to me. At the very least, I'm looking forward to trying out different scene sequences to make the story develop in different ways. Probably won't get into any serious rewrites for a while, though.
First NoNo (November Novel) and second completed manuscript. Easy Baker is a piece of dung, but it has promise even if the promise is only fertilizer. So in two weeks or so, after the stench has subsided, I'll start the hard work of rewriting, editing, and rewriting. Maybe a rose will grow from it.
Note: The day after completing Easy Baker I was lost. I did not know what to do with those three or four hours each moring. Next day I started planning my next manuscript.
I already have a list of things to change, so I'm planning to do some preliminary editing over the next couple of weeks. Then, I'm going to let it sit over the holidays and come back to it in January. Once I've got a "second draft," I'm going to let it rest for awhile before looking at it again.
I have always been told that it's best to wait to rewrite until you have forgotten what you wrote so that you can read it with an open mind. It's the best way to catch errors as well. I wrote a 107,000 YA and was told to wait no less than six weeks. It needs to rest, and so do I.