The NaNoWriMo Draft: Writing Update

It’s finally happening: The ugly, 65,000+ word book that’s been collecting dust in my computer files is finally being read.

That’s right. The dreaded NaNo-Novel, the one penned over three months ago now, is ready to be cut up, burned through, and edited to shreds.



As I read through my super-rough novel these past few days, a made a list of mental/physical notes of the thoughts I had about my work, a few of them being the following:

Wait, who is this character again?

Wow. This scene could possibly the worst piece of fiction I’ve read in my life.

LOOK! A line of believable dialogue! Score one for the author!

Correction. THIS scene is the worst piece of fiction I’ve ever read.

*glances at notes made during November* Ha, look at my little comments here. I’m hilarious.

*reads through supposedly comical scene* This…isn’t funny. At all.

Did I really write this scene? Because I really don’t remember…

Why do I insist on making sentences so super long and complicated that I forget what the whole thought was in the first place and it doesn’t make sense and land ho, we have another run-on.

Air. I need air.

While reading through the first draft was painful, it also brought back to mind all of the things I’d forgotten about in my story. Characters, settings, subplots I never really followed through with. It also reminded of all of the reasons I loved my story and wanted to write it in the first place.

Here’s a quick list of all the things I’ll be focussing on as I dive into the first round of edits:

  • Major plot changes. After writing my NaNo-novel, it was obvious my story needed some serious changes, though I really didn’t know how to make them. Once I took a break (which is 1,000X easier said than done) and returned with fresh eyes, it was almost immediatly clear how to fix things.
  • Character development. Something I really struggle with: getting my characters from my head onto the page in a realistic way.
  • Dialogue. Oh, how my characters need to learn how to talk. (That was a slam on me, by the way.)
  • POV change. The first draft is in first person, but this second time around, I’ll be writing in in third person.
  • My Main Character. I know I mentioned character development earlier, but my MC really needs help. In some scenes, she’s as fiece and dark as I’d imagined her being. But most of the time, she’s this sweet, spontaneous person that I don’t even know. Getting my main character down is key.


So, with all of that said, I hope to get this draft edited/rewritten within the next couple of months. I am super excited to be working on it again! 🙂 I’ve really missed my characters (or the ones I remember, anyway…).

Until next time!

~ ~ ~

Isabella Stines spent most of her childhood diving into books and breaking the rules by reading past her bed time. Still an avid reader, she spends more of her time as a student and musician in addition to writing, fueling her creativity with Ramen noodles and sweet tea. Stines is currently working on her first series.

You can find Isabella on Pinterest ( ) and tweet with her on Twitter:


The Inner (evil?) Editors

This is disturbing.

That. Yeah, right there. That’s horrible.

What exactly possessed you to do this?

This has to be illegal.

Geez, Isabella. Who was the terrible liar who told you to write? Who told you you COULD write???

*  *  *  *  *  *


Image is from


Friends, meet the the critic that lives inside my head. He (she?) makes his (her?) appearance whenever I’m in the process of creating something: be it a story, a character, a painting, a cake for my neighbor, a new blog post, etc.

They’re really a rather feisty editor. When I type ‘writer’ in my biography on twitter, they whisper, lie. When I click on the Microsoft Word icon, they snort.  When I come up with a solution that will fill my plot-holes, they scoff a little too loud; so loud that I sneak a peek at random bystanders, hoping they did hear my nasty critic with all of its annoying noises.

Now, I thought I was the only one a little bit off, but after doing some “reasearch” (i.e. studying other writers’ blogs, reading up on my favorite authors, etc.) it turns out the “inner editor” is a common critic that every writer deals with. In fact, one of the first tips I received while reviewing NaNoWriMo was this:

“Say Goodbye to your Inner Editor.”

Now, there is a time and a place for that Inner Editor. People employ him/her (or, if your critic is like mine, a picky woman with a very manly voice) in roughly two different ways:

1. Use them after your first draft is penned out. Let em’ loose. Let the critic scowl, edit & revise (because editing and revising are two different things), and rip your manscript to pieces. It’ll hurt. But you’ll end up agreeing with them, and soon your beautiful little (or not so little) story will be ready for another pair of eyes to see, so their inner editor can go crazy on your work.

Gotta love the writing process. This first option is the one that works best for me.

2. Use that Inner Editor every few scenes or chapters. Write a little. Take a break. Come back and edit. A sort of Edit As You Go method.

For me, it’s not a good idea to edit WHILE I write. I’m talking about writing a sentence, re-reading eight times, only to decide that it needs to start with a preposition instead of the subject, or it’s too long, too short, too…

DON’T DO THIS. It will only slow you down and drive you insane. If you must, go back and edit every few paragraphs. But don’t scrutinize every sentence to the point where you can’t even get a page done in a reasonable amount of time (and REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME varies from author to author).

Just write. That’s what you are: a writer. So break out the notebook and sharpen up those pencils. Double click the Microsoft Word icon with all the confidence in the world. Put the inner-critic on hold for a while. Tell him (or her with the masculine voice) to sit down while you finish your piece. There’ll be time for the Editor. But now is the time for the writer (YOU! 🙂 )

How do you deal with your inner editor (or are you one of those gifted writers who doesn’t own one)? Do you critique your work as you go, or once your entire piece is finished? Feel free to answer in the comments!

Isabella Stines spent most of her childhood diving into books and breaking the rules by reading past her bed time. Still an avid reader, she spends more of her time as a student and musician in addition to writing, fueling her creativity with Ramen noodles and sweet tea. Stines is currently working on her first trilogy.

You can find Isabella on Pinterest ( ) and tweet with her on Twitter: