How to Get through NaNoWriMo and What to Do Next: An Interview with Shayla Eaton of Curiouser Editing


This is my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I must confess, I am failing miserably. I’m far behind on my word count, but I have put words on the page and developed the idea far past what I had just one month ago.

I know there are many of you who are much further ahead of the game, and you’re on the verge of finishing that novel (yay!). You just have to get to the end and complete those 50,000 words (you’re so close!).

But then what?

What do you do with your book once it’s finished? How do you make the necessary changes? How do you take that next step toward publication?

That’s where Shayla Eaton comes in! She is the founder of Curiouser Editing, and she has the answers to all of your questions.

Shayla has personally been through the novel-writing and self-publishing process several times, and she has helped numerous people accomplish the same.

She is here on Write Like Me to let you all know how you can get through these last few days of NaNoWriMo and what to do next:


In your opinion, what three key elements make a great novel? Characters with flaws, maddening cliffhangers, and a plot that’s always thickening.

What are three of your favorite novel-writing resources (books, websites, apps)? The Emotion Thesaurus is a must for any novelist; Word Hippo for synonyms and antonyms when your brain is too fried to think; and Your First Novel for novices who need a walk-through.

You recently went to the beach to write a novel. What are two of your other favorite places to write? Coffee shops are a must because it’s nice to get out of the house and be surrounded by potential minor characters. (Yes, if I find you interesting, you might make it into my novel.) I also love sitting at my desk to write. I recently gave my writing space a makeover for more productive writing, and it’s made a huge difference in output. It’s helped to eliminate distractions, as my desk is only used for writing now.

For more details on writing your novel on the beach, read her two posts:

Read: Why I’m Hiding Out in a Condo to Write My Novel

Read: 10 Rules for Writing Your Book on the Beach


Have you ever felt “stuck” or like your novel wasn’t any good? Sure, all the time. As an editor, I think I’m even more critical than most authors because I expect high, high quality. I don’t ever want to produce anything that isn’t my best, so I’m constantly asking questions such as, “Is this my best work? Could this dialogue be stronger? Is this paragraph necessary? If I pull out all my hair, will anyone notice?”

How did you get past that feeling, and what advice would you give others who feel the same way? Step away for a little while. Grab a bite to eat, take the dog for a walk, or do something mundane. Especially if you’re stuck on a plot hole, do something mundane—wash the dishes, try to fix something. The answer to whatever plot- or character-driven dilemma you’re facing will hit you like a bolt of bookish lightning.

I always recommend talking out a plot hole with someone who knows nothing about your book. Every time I explain an issue with my plot, someone asks a question I never thought of and I immediately spot the discrepancy and find a solution.

What do you believe is the biggest thing holding people back from self-publishing or submitting their novels to publishers? Fear of rejection, either from a publishing company/agent or from potential readers. There’s also that horrible voice in the back of the author’s head, saying, “No one will like this. It’s been done before. It could be way better.” So for some reason, we listen to that maniacal little jerk and put everything off. Silence him, and publish your book.

If you need more motivation, remember that Stephen King threw away Carrie, Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times, and Golding received a letter from a publisher stating, “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”

What prompted you to start Curiouser Editing? I wanted to work one-on-one with authors. After leaving the publishing industry, I tried my hand at selling T-shirts. But my calling has been and always will be writing and editing—making an author’s dream come true. I came up with the name Curiouser Editing, landed my first client, and I suppose the rest is just history.

What do you most want people to know about Curiouser Editing? We believe that your book is your baby, so it’s our goal to give it the best care possible. It’s always scary handing your book over to someone else’s eyes, but it can make all the difference in the world.

How can it help writers when NaNoWriMo is over? The great thing about succeeding at NaNoWriMo is having a complete novel. Once it’s done, that’s where Curiouser Editing shines. We offer consulting, editing, book covers, formatting, marketing, book trailers, author bios and summaries—phew! Bottom line: we’ve got you covered.

Are you taking on new clients? Absolutely. Our team prepares for the influx of authors after NaNoWriMo. Our team adores books, and we love authors.

Meet the team:

Any final pieces of advice for aspiring novelists? Learn everything you can about realistic characters. Listen to conversations as you sit in cafes; eavesdrop—you’ll learn more about how humans communicate by simply observing.

When it comes time to publish, stay away from vanity publishers. These can also be subsidy publishers  who charge money to publish your book—they tell you it’s for marketing, but they never market your book. The best thing about self-publishing is that you can hit the publish button yourself—that’s why it’s called self-publishing.

If you’re going to spend money—and yes, you’ll have to when it’s time—invest in professional editing and top-notch design. But don’t forget to invest your time into a tribe of loyal readers who will fangirl over your book. I call them book ambassadors, and every author needs them.

If you’re short on book ambassadors, let me introduce you to some. Join Curiouser Author Network to learn, grow, and succeed—and be surrounded by crazy book lovers too.


There you have it! You are now armed with a host of resources to take that next step in publishing your novel. As a current member of the Curiouser Author Network, I can tell you that it is a group you need to be a part of if you plan to self-publish.

For more information about Shayla Eaton, see her short biography below and her website at


Biography: Shayla is the president of Curiouser Editing and a connoisseur of the writing and editing process, having edited over two hundred books and countless articles, blogs, social media posts, and web copy. She is the author of The Curiouser Crusade and the Pre-Publishing Checklist. She loves coffee and is an admirer of all things creative and bookish.

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