My daughter won NaNoWriMo over a year ago. She didn't do it this year. And after she finished her novel, she put it in a drawer or something. It hasn't seen the light of day since. She won't let me see it.
I don't think she's unusual. And I think that's a shame. It's easy to figure that after writing with such intensity the writer will want to kick back and rest for a bit. And after that the manuscript is easy to leave in the desk drawer to languish.
Instead of languishing, something else should happen. Or maybe it should languish if the novel is really bad. Who's to say? That's tricky, because sometimes what I think is a bad novel is regarded quite highly by someone else. Or vice versa. In olden days, it was very easy to know what constituted a good novel: someone in New York would take it from a slush pile and declare it publishable. Maybe it would sell, too.
I think that after November finishes, all those novels submitted to http://www.nanowrimo.org/ should be read by someone. They may not be ready for public consumption, but they should be read. And this got me thinking about A Proposal for Improving Ebooks that I posted a few weeks back.
Suppose someone were to create an e-reader program that runs on iPads, Android tablets, PCs and Macs, but this e-reader program is tied to a server. The reader signs up to read someone's NaNo opus, then goes through it adding annotations identifying typos and--more pertinent to Nano--providing feedback to the author of a more editorial nature. This feedback, like the novel, would not be made public, but would go from reader, to Internet server, to author with only those things the reader and author want public seen by anyone else.
Alternatively, writers and readers can using something like Google Docs, specifically Jae-Sung Lee's Pinfolio,
to give readers editable copies of the novel. But I have never been able to work this way. I think the only person making changes to the novel should be the author. And the reader should only be making annotations that are for the author's eyes only. The author alone should be responsible for doing something about these annotations.
My current thinking is that someone needs to lash up a prototype e-reader to give readers a feel for what I have in mind. And mockups of the server screens with diagrams that illustrate the processes of finding/choosing readers by writers and hooking things up to the NaNoWriMo people. This would give the NaNoWriMo author a system to take his work to the next level.
What do you think?