It's over... it's finally over! After a month long, epic quest, I have crossed the finish line of National Novel Writing Month, having written over 50,000 words in one month. Considering that not a single word was written on a day when I worked, I truly wrote 50,000 words in just 15 days! This is a monumental personal achievement for me.
I've always wanted to write a book, but I've sat around an not actually done anything with that dream. This year I decided to give NaNoWriMo a solid effort to kick myself into cranking out some words, no matter how bad. At least I would have something to go back to and expand upon and edit later.
The final leg of the journey was brutal. At 32,000 words, my writing sputtered, as I reached the limit of what I could write without any prior plotting or planning on where the story was going. I staggered on, writing segments of the story in a random order, just putting to the page any scene that popped into my mind. I padded my word count by writing some fake news stories that I hope to eventually use as chapter openers. I wrote one seen only in response to a dare from my friend Sandra, who also is doing NaNo this year.
Still, all my sputtering only got me to 42,000 words. 8,000 words short, I was dead in the water. At that point, I just let go. I stopped caring if what I wrote would be usable in the future or not. I even stopped caring about my plot. I forceably put the story in a setting I was comfortable with, and carried on writing by stream of consciousness (I turned a speculative fiction story into full-on alien abduction sci-fi with a snap of my imaginary fingers). I kept my main character, but just wrote the first thing that popped into my head, no matter how wierd or stupid it seemed. To my great surprise, those last 8,000 words were among the most fun to write, and actually aren't all that bad.
Once I passed 50,000, I submitted my manuscript to have the word count validated, and it said my story was actually almost 600 words shorter than it really was, so I had to go back and write some more. I took the easy way out, having my main character relay to a few newer characters everything that had happened in the novel so far. It was a cheap and easy way to boost my word count over the finish line I had honestly already passed.
While those last 8,000 words won't survive to the final novel, I'll be copy/pasting them into a different document and saving it, as there might be a story concept in there for the future. While my novel isn't actually complete, I'm going to take a break from it for a little bit, and focus my attention of fleshing out the rest of the story before coming back to it to complete it.
I couldn't have managed this accomplishment without the support of my friend Sandra. Thank you, thank you, thank you Sandra! Her encouragement, ideas, and inspiration kept me going every time I was about to crap out. I hope I've pulled my weight in returning the favor. I've just won. Sandra, you better be coming behind me =) Victory is sweet. Victory shared is even sweeter.
I plan to celebrate by cracking open a beer and spending the rest of tonight playing games, and I plan on having a massive game marathon tomorrow. New Vegas and Enslaved are begging me to play them. So far, Enslaved has been might impressive. I'm just two chapters in, so we'll see how the rest of the game goes.