NaNoWriMo: The Final Update

I finish NaNoWriMo ’03 with a word count of 54,080. That puts me among the winners this year who achieved the lofty goal of slapping 50,000 words into a word processor within thirty days.

There is more to do on We Shall All Be Changed. The protagonists are just now figuring out where they are, so it’ll be a few thousand more words before we start resolving their problems. A few unexpected characters have appeared and are demanding the spotlight. All in all, the length will probably be close to last year’s Iron Dragons, which I finished a month ago at 80,700 words. I will begin editing ID next week.

I encourage you to NaNo next year, if you’ve ever felt an itch to tell a story. It’s a wonderful way to prime the pump and show you that you can generate a couple thousand words a day without cutting yourself off from humanity. Truly, it sounds like a bigger task than it is.

So why did I only write 21,000 words during last year’s NaNo? I tried to write the finished draft. Wrong! Big mistake! Hack away, get the basic outline of the plot, create the characters, resolve the conflicts, set it aside for a couple weeks, and then–and only then–begin to polish it into a finished form.

That’s what I’ve learned from National Novel Writing Month this year and last. But more importantly, I’ve learned, unlike many of those who signed up and then spent more time complaining to the forums about their novels than writing, that I really enjoy this.

Hmm. If only someone would develop a laptop with an ergonomic keyboard. I’m off to take some IB for the carpal tunnel.

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