Back at the beginning of May, I decided to embark on MyNoWriMo, my own personal version of NaNoWriMo. My goal was to hit 150,000 words, or finish the first draft of my eighteen-months-in-progress novel, whichever came first. Well, as it turns out, I didn’t make it to either goal. Here are my final stats:
Starting Word Count: 91,484
Final Word Count: 122,118
Words Written: 30,634
Overall, I found it a lot harder to sustain 2,000-word-a-day momentum than I was expecting. Since my main goal was word count, I didn’t want to spend a great deal of time banging my head against individual scenes, planning and plotting and re-writing them. And even though this was probably a good attitude to have, it did mean I always pushed forward through rough points in the plot, rather than backing up for a moment and trying to find a better path. Maybe that’s the right mindset for the first draft; maybe it isn’t. I think I probably need more practice (as in, several more novels) before I figure out what works best for me.
At 122,118 words (411 double-spaced pages in Microsoft Word), the plot has developed a lot of threads, and I’m at the point where I have to figure out how to tie them all off– or, rather, that I have to guide the characters into figuring out how to tie them all off. So whereas in the first half of the novel (most of which was written in NaNoWriMo 2009) I was able to breeze my way along, the scenes now take a fair amount of planning, and have specific outcomes that I need to reach. If I don’t reach the specific outcome, I either need to re-write the scene, or figure out a new path that will still let me tie everything (or almost everything) off in the end. It’s actually a lot harder than I anticipated. (Funny how that works.) But if I can do it, I think it’ll set me up well for the revision, as well as for writing an even better second novel (which will probably not be a sequel to the first; I need a break from this world).
Despite having failed with my stated goal for MyNoWriMo, I actually succeeded with my larger goal, which was to get moving on the novel again. My even-larger-than-that goal– to finish the first draft of the novel by WorldCon in August– now looks much more feasible than it did at the beginning of the month. If I can continue to write 1,000 words a day on the novel, I’m almost positive that the draft will, indeed, be done by the start of WorldCon on August 17.
But there’s a slight hiccup in the plan: I have to shift my focus away from the novel for the next two weeks in order to write a short story that I can submit for the Q3 Writers of the Future contest at the end of June. I have a general idea of what the story will be; I just need to plan it out and write it, and do so within about 12 days so that I can submit it to my writers’ group in time to for them to critique it and me to revise it. I’m not sure how much progress on the novel I’ll be able to make during that time period; if I can’t, then I’ll have to pick it back up as soon as I finish the short story.
No time for slacking or Writer’s Block over the next few months. There’s stories to be told.