NaNoWriMo: 41,500 words and still a winner

Today marks the end of NaNoWriMo and after a slow start I managed to write 41,500 words. This is short of the goal of 50,000 words; however, this is more than I’ve ever managed to write towards one novel draft. So even though I won’t be considered a NaNoWriMo winner, I am proud of how much I managed to accomplish.

I’ve fallen into the habit of sleeping in (I’m still enjoying not being employed), having a relaxing morning and then taking off to a cafe to write. I sip a latte and munch on a cookie while I tap away on my laptop. I’ve averaged about 2,500 – 3,000 words a day. A very respectable word count. At 41,500 words, I think I’m about three-quarters of the way through the first draft.

I wrestled with the idea of doing a detailed outline and/or scene list for my novel before I began writing but then November 1 came and I needed to start writing. My novel is based on a true event from my childhood, so I did have an idea of where I wanted the story to go – and ideas on where I wanted it to diverge from the truth. So I just dove in and started writing. My approach has been to just follow where the story leads me. I’ve just pushed ahead with the story and kept on writing. Only occasionally did I got back to add a scene or other details. I’ve kept reminding myself that this is a first draft and the purpose of this draft is to just figure out what the story is and make it through to the end. The second draft will be all about deleting unnecessary scenes, adding missing scenes, beefing up the theme and doing whatever else it takes to make it more complete.

I’m currently taking a novel writing class at U of T and I’ve submitted the first two chapters to my classmates for review in two weeks’ time. I did edit these chapters before I submitted them. I know that these chapters still need work, so I’m hoping that the feedback from my classmates and the instructor will be helpful. Starting in February, I’ll be taking a more advanced novel writing class and will be able to workshop a few more chapters.

I’ve wanted to write this story for nearly twenty years and I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to finally do it.

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