I spent the month of November writing a novel. That’s right, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and this year, I won!
To win, I needed to write 50,000 words in November. I am among thousands who “win” every year. The goal is not to be the first or the best; the goal is to finish. I have been a NaNoWriMo member since 2014, but this is the first year I’ve competed and won. In earlier attempts, either the story ran out, I lost my mojo, or let our annual trip to spend time with family derail my train of thought. It’s hard to sit down and write for several hours a day when there are grandkids to play with.
We didn’t travel this year as we are trying to build our new home. I took advantage of the situation at the last minute. I decided to recycle a set of characters running around my head for decades. The original storyline petered out about halfway through. This plot pulled me along, surprising me all along the way.
The bones of the story are there, and according to my alpha readers, it holds together and has them waiting for the next installment. I know there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up and subplots to explore, but this is the first messy draft.
I learned a lot as I wrote this story over the last thirty days. I already knew that as a pantser, keeping a story moving in a logical direction takes a lot of work. This month taught me that keeping the momentum going is vital to keeping the story on track. Two days before the end of November, I had no idea how it would end. I thought I would still be meandering through feeling around for a conclusion when it came to me as I slept.
The story drove me this year. Every time I sat down to write, the story unfolded before me. I wrote the final scene as I played it out on paper. I used my game dice to add a measure of randomness to the actions. Otherwise, my inclination would be to tip too far one way or the other. The dice let me separate my personal wants from the characters’ activities.
I will let the story sit until after the new year, then look at making revisions. When the story is ready, I will post it in installments, but I am still far away from that day. In the meantime, I’m going to bask in the glow of my accomplishment.
Congratulations to me. 😊