Final Nanowrimo Update: Success

I’ve done it. Yesterday (Wednesday) at around 1:00PM, I finished writing the 50,000 words required to “win” National Novel Writing Month. It’s been verified by the site and everything. This makes my third successful Nanowrimo outing, though as with the previous two successful outings (in 2007 and 2008), the story itself was not finished during this month. In fact, it’s probably not even close. A generous estimate would put the first draft at about half done.

If you visit this blog with any degree of regularity you’ll already know that this novel is the first Nano novel I intend to finish, and revise into a true manuscript. I may do so for the other two someday, but in this case I went into Nanowrimo knowing it would essentially be a kick start for my next official novel.

In the final days of writing it I hit a bit of a dry patch again. A patch that is bugging me a bit, because I know that when revisions come, it is the section that will require the most work. That and several of the sections to follow, in fact. Work that will not be taking place for quite some time. For I must outline the second half of the story. Then write said second half. Followed by allowing the first draft to sit for a month or two. By the time all of that takes place, several months will have passed, at best. (Depending on how easily the rest of the outline goes for me of course.)

But I will be taking a few days off from this novel, to regroup. But not too many. I have a few sections I want finished up before I start outlining that second half of the story.

I’ll confess that my progress was hindered a bit in the late third and early fourth weeks of Nano this year, because of the “official” status of this novel. Without a doubt it fulfilled its purpose of getting me well into my next major writing project, and for that reason I don’t regret doing it this way. But knowing where I needed to go, instead of just flat out going as I did in previous Nanowrimos made the sailing somewhat less smooth this time.

Nevertheless, I did get it done. And done several days early. Perhaps not as many days early as I originally thought I could manage it, but early nonetheless. I finished a few days early on the other Nanos as well.

So it’s now well established that I can create 50K words of fiction related to the same arc in less than 30 days. And that I can do it both as a pantser and as a planner. But I’ve never finished the narrative in that time. I therefore wonder if that should be my goal for the next Nanowrimo I do. To commit to finishing not only 50K words, but also containing an entire story arc within those 50K in the 30 days November gives us.

I don’t know if I will go for that or not. So far in my fiction writing life, I’ve determined that stories form in my mind that require either far fewer or far more than 50K words. That would make it difficult. I probably could not pants it. If I did go for a full story in 50K, I’d probably have to outline, and see if I could achieve it. And estimating how many words an arc will take is quite tricky anyway. Even more tricky if I were pantsing it. At least that is how I see it for now.

Then there is the notion that a 50K word novel is, as Nanowrimo organizers admit, on the very short end of the acceptable novel length. In fact, I think that it may be slipping closer to the “too short for a novel” category every year. A novel of that length these days I feel would be much harder to sell to a publisher than it would have been even when Nanowrimo was first created. And even if one self-publishes, it seems to me that 50K words would feel more like a long short story to most people in most cases. Or a novella. Anything is possible of course.

Yet all of that consideration is for next year. For now I will enjoy that I not only achieved my third Nanowrimo prize, but that I have made huge headway into my next “official” novel. Will I be able to keep the inner editor quiet throughout the rest of the process, now that the boundaries of Nanowrimo time are no longer upon me? That also remains to be seen. It may be more difficult this time around. But if it is, then perhaps in one way the challenge of Nanowrimo will stay with me for months to come. Just in a different form.

I kind of like that possibility, don’t you?

Here’s to all the Nanowimo 2012 participants and winners. Are you one?

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