Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Post NaNo: New goals and congratulations
Today is December 1st.
Yesterday, at 3:35 pm, I crossed the finish line for NaNo WriMo, at 50,024 words.
It was an exhausting, grueling, trying month, but I'm SO glad that I did it. I know this particular WIP would've taken me twice as long if I hadn't NaNoed the first half of it. My plot meandered, my characters did crazy, nonsensical things or nothing at all, and I couldn't count the times I wanted to go back and erase that page or paragraph or chapter of horrid prose that would've made Shakespeare roll in his grave. But erasing even one word would set my precious word quota back, the one I had clawed and cajoled and wrestled to get it this far. You can't look back, in NaNo. You must keep moving forward.
So. If you are among the few stubborn, stalwart, never-say-die people who crossed the NaNo finish line, congratulations! I salute you.
If you didn't quite make it, congratulations! I salute you, too! You tried something most would put off, or would've seen as impossible. You wrote. Whether you wrote 100 words or 49,999, you still put fingers to keyboard and words in front of the other. That is something to be proud of.
But its not over, yet. For me, my novel isn't quite done. I still have another 30,000 words to go. For my fellow NaNoers, that 50,000 word novel isn't done yet, either. Now comes the clean-up, where you go back and fix your plot holes, snip those loose threads, and try to get it looking its best. If you're aiming to get that story published, you have a lot of work to do. Firstly, consider padding your novel with another 20,000--30,000 words. I know *GASP*, that's a lot of words, but 50k is a VERY short novel, and most publishers prefer something a little longer. You can do it--you already have a beginning and an ending. And you wrote 50,000 words in a month; this should be cake.
Or, if you don't see how your novel can be salvaged, write another one. Yup, just like that. You already know you can do it. That's the most valuable thing NaNo can teach you; you've already written a book. You can do it again.
For those who didn't finish, keep going! What's stopping you? NaNo is a tool, a motivational device to get you started, but you don't need it to finish. You've already begun your story. Completing it is just a matter of putting words in front of each other, little by little, until you're done.
Finish your novel. You don't need NaNo to do it. =)