A Brief NANOWRIMO Debriefing

(Wait, what?)

Well, I can tell you right off the bat that my attempt at this years National Novel Writing Month has been vastly more successful than the crash-and-burn, crawl-yourself-across-the-embers attempt of 2010. Main improvement? I had a story to write, a real one, not one I’d made up on the fly that seemed like a good idea at the time but had no backbone to it. The story I picked for this year’s NANO was one I have over-cooked in my head for nearly a decade. It was more than well-aged, it was getting gamey. That helped: I knew the characters with ease, knew their goals and ambitions pretty well, knew how they interacted with each other, and with a revamped plot line, it actually came somewhat together.

I hit the 50,000 word count. Easily. Hit it on the 20th of November, actually, and kept on with my goal of 3k a weekday since. So that was nice. Bad news? There’s still a whole hell of a lot left to go. This is my first official attempt at an original novel, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s a little long in the tooth. I can already sense some places where I’ll be going back to hack out sections, but for now, I’m pressing on. 3k/weekday until it’s finished–really, truly, totally a finished draft.

Number one lesson learned during this year’s NANO? I can actually write pretty fast. 3k is not an unreasonable daily word count goal for me. It’s not always easy, but once I get my shoulders into the day’s work, it can move along at a pretty brisk pace. This was a surprise to me. I’d always assumed, from my short story work, that I was a pretty slow writer. Apparently, I can really crank out the words when I need to, without much crying of blood, either! A rather pleasant surprise.

Granted, I don’t know if what I’ve got yet will be any good, or if it will be anything I can work with in the future, but it’s convinced me that perhaps it’s not so crazy to conceive of writing a novel a year (maybe more?<–WHA-?! Heresy!). Maybe I can even write another one before THE BIG DAY arrives in June. That’d be three novel rough drafts finished in one year.

And that might just be a miracle. 

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