Columns > Published on December 16th, 2016

5 Things to Do With Your New NaNoWriMo Book

I’m not going to explain what NaNoWriMo means. It’s nearly 2017. You should understand how search engines function by now. Odds are, if you’re reading this website, you already know all about NaNoWriMo. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you even participated.

NaNoWriMo ended just under a month ago. Some of you may have completed it and knocked out at least fifty thousand mostly unreadable words. Many of you probably gave up halfway through with some lame-ass excuse about family getting in the way, or are literally shaking in fear of what your future might become now that the personification of a malignant and stale, fallen-under-the-couch Cheeto will be running the country, which is somewhat understandable I suppose.

So let’s say you do have those fifty thousand words hammered out, that holy grail invented by some bored Wikipedia editor (probably). You have an entire novel finished and it’s just sitting around collecting dust. What are you supposed to do now? Well, it’s a good thing you clicked on an article called “5 Things to Do With Your New NaNoWriMo Book”, isn’t it? Also, can we please take a moment to appreciate the originality of this article’s title. I knew going in that this would be a risky pitch, but luckily LitReactor was willing to take a chance on me.

Right. So what the hell are you going to do with your recently finished NaNoWriMo book?

05. Let it Keep Collecting Dust

And when I say “collecting dust”, I am not being cute. I mean you better print that sonofabitch out and store it somewhere you’ll likely forget about it. Here’s a little known secret (because if it was well known, it would cease being a secret): the more dust a manuscript collects, the better the prose ages. If you think I’m being funny, just ask any of the commenters on my other articles and they will gladly correct you about my skills as a comedian.

No book has ever been more enjoyable than after someone’s blown a thick sheet of dust off the front page.

What you need to do right now is nothing. Just let it sit. Keep it in the back of your mind and replay the story over and over. Then, after many months have passed…

Here’s a little known secret: the more dust a manuscript collects, the better the prose ages.

04. SET IT ON FIRE!

You remember how cool and fun that scene in Misery looked when Annie Wilkes made Paul Sheldon burn the shit out of his new manuscript? That’s exactly what you need to do. Trust me. You will never have more fun as a writer than when you’re drenching weeks’ worth of fiction in gasoline and kissing it with a lit match. The warmth it blasts against your face will feel better than any contributor copy. The smell will stay with you until you eventually also go up in flames.

After the manuscript is good and burned, you need to…

03. Bury the Ashes

You must treat the remains of your book with respect. You don’t want some weird ghost book coming back to haunt you. Or maybe you do? No, of course you don’t. That’s scary. You gotta bury those ashes in the earth. Then you need to delete any files of the manuscript from your computer. Erase any history it ever existed.

I know, I know. Right now you’re shaking with rage. You’re thinking, why the fuck would I delete my book, I just spent an entire month spilling my blood and sweat into this thing, and I’m just gonna erase it all?

Yes. You’re going to erase it all. Then you’re going to…

02. Rewrite it From Memory

If your NaNoWriMo book was really worth saving, then you should be able to rewrite the majority of it in a fresh doc without having to copy from a previous draft. The theory is, the truly good material will remain with you and the garbage will be forgotten, so when you rewrite it, you leave out all the material you should have deleted anyway. And if you find you can’t rewrite it? Well, maybe it was never worth writing in the first place.

Or, alternatively, you could...

01. Ignore the First Four Steps and Start Submitting it to Every Goddamn Press You Can Find

And don’t even bother proofing the damn thing before sending it in. Also, don’t worry if the press isn’t currently accepting new submissions, either. Those guidelines only exist to see who’s really determined to get published. Just send it. I mean, someone’s bound to accept it sooner or later, right? Are you really that concerned with landing a good publisher? No. I didn’t think so. Hell, why go with a publisher at all? How come you haven’t already uploaded that shit to Amazon KDP? You gotta stay ahead of the competition, baby! Surely your mom or significant other would be willing to download it on their phones. They probably won’t read it, but they’ll at least tell you it’s good, and isn’t that what we’re all after, when it comes right down to it?

No?

Oh.

Well then maybe this article only applies to myself. Sorry about that.

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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