Saturday, November 26, 2005

I finished NaNoWriMo!!!

Winner 2005 NaNoWriMo

I did it! I wrote 50,000 words of The Old Power Returns, the sequel to Darksome Thirst, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Technically, you're supposed to write a complete novel, from start to finish, but since my novel is actually a continuation in a series, I didn't feel like I was bending the rules too much when, on October 31, I saved the file with my work so far and started a new one from that point.

Why did I even bother? Well, I was getting stuck with The Old Power Returns. It seemed that I was halfway done -- for months! And it seemed that there were always things coming up, like vacations or family obligations or work that caused me to lose my momentum.

NaNoWriMo, a social contract of sorts, was just what I needed. I promised -- myself -- that at the end of November I would have 50,000 words, the last two which would be "The End."

Okay, so I sort of bent that rule, too, since the last words on the page were "To be continued" (because it's a series), but I did keep the promise that I would wrap up the current story. That I did, and I'm quite amused at the results. A couple of things happened that I wasn't expecting, and there was one unforseen connection that appeared in the very last hour or two of writing.

So, how long does it take to write 50,000 words? For me, it took 67 hours, and that included some online research time, which I wasn't as disciplined about as I should have been. And it was only about three days from the finish when I thought to make an autocorrect entry in Microsoft Word so that I could type "Mat " and have it fill in my character's name, Matricaria!

What have I learned from this? I've learned that forcing myself to get to the end of my novel in one month might be a good idea. I don't have the continuity problems that I have when I'm forced to stop writing for a few weeks when I'm spreading it out. Also, if you hibernate for only a month at a time, people seem to be a little forgiving! And if it's going to be any month, November is as good a month as any, and the support of the other NaNoWriMo writers and the NaNoWriMo volunteers is priceless.

I've still got a ways to go with this novel. I've still got to "let it cool" for a few weeks and then do a ruthless self-edit. But that's fine. I can do that. The hardest part -- facing the inertia of the legendary "sophomore slump" is over. And, at least for a couple of weeks, I can rest my typing fingers!

-- Morven

If you want to read an excerpt, check out my profile at the NaNoWriMo site:

The non-Flash version is here.

The Flash version is here.

What I'm Reading Now...

  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone
  • The Cleansing by John Harvey
  • Haunted Massachusetts by Cheri Revai

What I've Finished Reading Recently...

  • No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Staying Dead by Laura Anne Gilman
  • The Practical Writer Edited by Therese Eiben and Mary Gannon
  • The Song of an Emerald Dove by Xanna Vinson

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