A couple days ago I crossed the 50,000-word threshold for NaNoWriMo– yay! Tonight, after reaching 52,336 words, I uploaded my story to their word count program, and my progress bar on the NaNoWriMo site turned purple, so it’s official. I even got the nifty web badge for my blog. (Okay, so it’s not exactly riches, fame, and women throwing themselves at my feet, but hey, it’s a start.)
But it’s also very much a case of “you’ve won the battle, not the war.” The other goal of NaNoWriMo, to finish a draft of a novel, is far from done, and won’t be done until well after the tail end of November has passed by. I’m thinking the first draft will be somewhere between 100,000-150,000 words, probably more toward the large end of that estimate. I might be done with the first draft by the end of the year, but it’s a pretty big “might.”
This story is already the longest single work of fiction I’ve ever written. I wrote a couple pieces of fanfiction over the course of a year or two in college that are almost as long; now, in less than a month, I’ve written an original story that’s even longer. Before this, I wasn’t totally sure I had it in me. So just for that alone, NaNoWriMo has been great. But soon I won’t have NaNoWriMo to motivate me, just a desire to see this story through to the end, and to improve my writing skills as I do so.
I can sort of divide the overall structure of the plot into 6 parts. My goal is to be done with the first 2 parts (plus a 5,000-word prologue) by the end of this month, which looks pretty feasible, particularly with a long weekend here. Then I may take some time to edit that, and make sure I’m comfortable with how the story is shaping up before I embark on doing the rest. I don’t want to pause too long… it would be too easy to lose momentum, so even while I’m editing I’ll still probably try to keep up a 1,000 word a day pace for writing new stuff. In fact, that’s my long-term goal– to sustain 1,000 words of new material a day on whatever project(s) I happen to be working on at the time.
Come December, I’m also going to be re-submitting rejected short stories to other magazines (something I’ve neglected during NaNoWriMo), and also picking up work on the blog. So it’s gonna be busy. But NaNoWriMo has energized me, and I’m looking forward to it.
And, oh yeah, I almost forgot– Happy Turkey Day!