NaNoWriMo: Post Mortem

November has come and gone.  And no, I did not hit 50,000 words.

Now, what follows is going to sound like excuses.  And maybe in a way they are.  But I think I’ve gained more than I’ve “lost” by not hitting the word count, so I’m comfortable with the outcome.

I’m a little over 20,000 words.  I could have been further along, but something weird happened on the way to 50,000:  I started to actually like what I was writing.  Enough that I didn’t want to leave annoying things unfixed before I proceeded.  I tried, but little things kept nagging at me like a loose tooth, and try as I might, I finally gave in and yanked the damn thing out.

What sort of things, you might ask?  Well, a really awkward piece of motivation, for one thing.  When the major reason for one of your characters to be in a certain place pretty much falls flat, moving on from that place doesn’t feel right.  So I fixed it.  Which required fixing some of the scenes involving that character.  Which involved changing some scenes for some other characters.  Which involved some whole new scenes being created, and some taken away.  And actually, there’s still some work to be done, because I made a major decision whose ramifications aren’t really accounted for yet.

So while this sounds like dilly-dallying, the important thing here is that I’m invested.  I think this is good.  I want this to be good.  And that strikes me as more important than rushing forward to hit an arbitrary number.  It’s like building a house in a week just to be finished, then realizing the foundation is uneven and you forgot to put in running water.  Better to fix those things when they happen so you have a solid base to move on from.

And I did 20,000 words in less than a month, a month with a major holiday and a major computer mishap.  At that pace, I can have a 100,000 word novel done by next summer.

So that’s my goal now.

It’s December 1st, 2010.  By June 1st, 2011, I will have this finished.  Not necessarily ready to submit, but at least ready for a second draft.  No word count total to hit.  Just be finished.  Type “The End” and sit back.  No excuses.

And congrats to those of you who DID complete NaNoWriMo this year.  It’s definitely something to be proud of, and despite my comfort with where I’m at, I’ll admit to a little jealousy.

But there’s always next year.

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One Response to NaNoWriMo: Post Mortem

  1. kpreuss says:

    Great job, Rich. And a perfect attitude about your progress. You wrote more of your novel in a month than I have written of mine in 43 years. If you wish for some feedback after that first draft or even before, please let me know.

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