Friday, December 11, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Conclusion

I don't like to lose.

I am driven by competition. It explains the sheer number of board games I had growing up. It doesn't explain why I was terrible at sports.

It's what makes NaNoWriMo so useful to me year after year. I can say to myself, "I want to accomplish X by Y date," but if I stumble along the way, I'll usually sit down and give up because I feel like I've got nothing to lose. When I sit down for NaNo and see that I and thousands of others have 50k to write by November 30th, well then, bring on the words. I want that purple bar and the winners prizes that I never use anyway. In the past, that motivation's gotten me five half-finished novels. I was worried about this year though. You may recall my goal was just to finish two novels, no matter how short it left me.

So, the verdict?

Aww yiss. I was close on my guess for how many words were left in BoBD and TG. I finished the second one at 37,000. At that point, with only 13,000 left to write and still on schedule, well, why not keep going?

Starting goal: Finish The Business of Being Dead and Trickster's Gambit (estimated completion: 30k)
End point:
The Business of Being Dead - Finished 11/17 (NaNoWC: 29,466)
Trickster's Gambit - Finished 11/22 (NaNoWC: 37,160)
The Henchman, planned but unwritten short story - Finished 11/25 (NaNoWC: 42,524)
Queen of Bones - In Progress (NaNoWC: 52,372)

Two finished novels, one finished short story, and a third novel on the last scene. I can actually finish three novels this year. I still have to remove the excess and see what the final word counts are. At least one will probably end up in "novella" length. I'm sure I'm going to need a lot of buffing on all three. Plus I realized a lot of plotholes while finishing Trickster's Gambit that made my planned ending not work. But you know what? I still finished it. I wrote the planned ending knowing it didn't make sense. It was... freeing. All this time I thought I'd given myself permission to write badly, but I hadn't. I had permission to write bad sentences, but I had never let myself write bad scenes. That was my stopping block. I had to fix the plotholes RIGHT THEN NO CONTINUING UNTIL FIXED DO IT NOW. But I wouldn't know how to do it, so I'd give up. Or I was missing scenes I needed, but wasn't sure how to write, so I'd give up. Or I'd write myself into a corner and didn't know how to get out of it, so I'd give up.

This time, with my goal of finishing, I let myself back up and restart. I let myself continue knowing I'd have to cut what I was doing in the next draft. I made myself shove through it so I could write "The End" and mean it. And now I have almost three first drafts to clean up. It feels incredible. And terrifying. Very terrifying. I can't wait to get started.

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