“Yeah. Woo. Woo,” followed by a fist pump.
That is the reaction of man who has just finished the first draft of his first novel. It took some sixteen days longer than the time allotted to it in November but I relaxed the pace a lot after November ended.
I was nearing the end with one last chapter to write. I suspected after I finished that final chapter, I would then find I had to write the real final chapter and I was correct. Then the epilogue. In the end I got there though and it’s time to put another one in the incubator. After it comes out, then the hard work will start. I can already envision throwing out a quarter of it and needing to rewrite large sections. But looking forward to moving the novel forward.
And that is what this NaNo has really been about for me. This was the next step in producing a novel. A big step for me. Prior to it I had been content to jump from story to story, writing whatever scene had captured my attention that day, not wanting to stifle my muse. That’s given me a hodgepodge of scenes to work with but that does not a novel make. NaNo has given me that, the first step in producing the story from start to end, something that a reader can read, theoretically without me needing to fill in the gaps from my mind.
Along the way the characters did things I didn’t know they were going to do but they solved their problems in their own ways and even solved some of mine, aka plot holes. That’s what you get from bashing words out on a keyboard. You can day dream all day and still get nothing to solve that problem with the plot. Writing is exploration and discovery.
That writing course I did years ago taught me that to write all I need to do is put pen to paper and write away. NaNo taught me that to write a novel all I need to do is sit down and write. Write. Write. Write. Keep charging forward until that ugly, hole-infested first draft is done. Worry about fixing it another day. Just keep writing.
I don’t think it is a miracle but I am still thankful that I somehow managed to not get stumped by writer’s block as some other NaNoers claimed. Maybe it’s because this thing has been brewing in my head for the last decade or so. Maybe it’s because writer’s block is just another excuse. Maybe there is a muse up there singing my song.
Final word count for the first draft of In The Service of the Queen: 111,983 words give or take. Forty-Six days well spent.