Monday, December 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo Captain's Log, Issue 4

...Because I said I would. Even though it's now a fair bit after the fact. The final installment is below:

Day 24 (Thanksgiving): 38,179 total, 2,124 added. (1,821 behind). Really hard to do anything around the family tonight. Dinner was lovely, and we all put ourselves into turkey-induced food comas, which was not a conducive state for writing. Still got my minimum down, though, so that is good. So many loose ends to wrap up, and just over 10,000 words to do it in. We’ll see how that goes!

Day 25: 41,927 total, 3,748 added. (261 ahead). YAY! Cooking and Second Thanksgiving pretty much all day, but when I got home around 8, I just sat down and wrote. Wonderfully productive. Wrapping up really does take longer than you think. I only have a few thousand left—I hope I can get everything wrapped up by then!

Day 26: 44,081 total, 2,154 added. (748 ahead). Zipping along, zipping along toward that finish line and the glory and sparkling cider and the “winner” t-shirt that await! It’s Thanksgiving in my novel. Gosh, I don’t know where that idea came from…

Day 27: 46,125 total, 2,044 added. (1,125 ahead). Woohoo! So close! Maybe I can finish tomorrow! I am figuring out how to resolve the plot and keep the sense of justice in tact. It needs to feel like a fair resolution in order for my MC to be consistent in character. I think I’ve got it worked out. And less than four thousand words to make it all happen. Let’s do this! (Finished the day by 8:00 pm today, by the way. Going to go watch Inception now with Josh.)

Day 28: 51,300 total. 5,175 added (plus some I forgot to count). I finished my novel in solitude, no online sprints, which felt appropriate. Novel submitted and verified. I win! Boy, what a rush that ending was. Christina and Kevin were over, cheering me on from the other room, and they drank sparkling cider with me in celebration when I hit 50,000. (or 50,090, actually—I didn’t notice when I actually crossed the finish line). (Josh sipped some too, though he was in bed under the influence of NyQuil. He is rather sick at the moment, but kindly gave me permission to wake him when I crossed the finish line.)

But that wasn’t enough. The story wasn’t over, goshdarnit! And even though I’d already written 2,000 words in the last hour, I sat back down and wrapped everything up, copied the three pages of notes that I’d been keeping at the end of the document to a separate document, and still reached more than 1,000 words over the finish line. I couldn’t help smiling when I finally typed “The End” at 51,300 words, knowing that that was really where the story ended. It wasn’t just “good enough.” It was finished. The inevitable ends were reached.

This is momentous. I have a 162-page Word document full of a story that I created. Out of my head. A story that is coherent, and meaningful, and one that I actually like. What a massive endeavor, and what a thrilling ride, and what a bizarre existential experience. I might, maybe, a little bit be hooked on this noveling thing now. Huge shout-out to the NaNoWriMo Staff and the Office of Letters and Light. Send them money. These are really excellent and clever people.

Day 29: Aw. Dang. Post-NaNo Blues. I don’t know what to do with myself now. My fingers are itching to keep typing, but I know I need to do other things. I feel like I am not motivated to do anything except to write. And write some more.

Day 30: GUYS. This sucks. I don’t even feel like a human being right now.

Afterword: Heading back into real life was hard. It wasn't like I had actually left real life either, though. I had done all of the things that I normally would--working in the office, teaching, grading, family stuff, home stuff, holidays, church--plus written a whole novel in a month on top of it all. I had a clear goal and daily objectives and the will to accomplish it all, and then suddenly it was finished. And I had no idea what to do with myself. And it was miserable for a week or so. And now it's mostly back to normal, though I've picked up my other novel again, which is good. But not at quite so hectic a pace. And before anyone asks, no, you can't read the one I finished. I haven't even read it yet, and probably won't at least until after Christmas. And then I'll decide if it's worth editing. And then I'll edit it if it is. And then MAYBE you can read it. I can see now why so many writers advise that you write something every single day, though. Just one month was enough to build a habit, and it was difficult to break it and come back down. If writing is going to be your livelihood, that habit would be one valuable ally.

Here are my final stats for the month:

So. There you have it. One novel. One month. Any suggestions for what I should do next?


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