It’s November 11th. I should have finished last night at 16,667 words. Instead, I went to bed with 25,151 under my belt.
The 50,000 word aim in 30 days has always been “do-able” for me.
I met the goal in 2009, though the ideas were very much stolen from another set of books.
In 2010, I wrote the ideas myself but had a lot of loose ends and half-written scenes. I didn’t finish the story, though a book was ‘done’.
In 2011, I used a lot of cheats to win.
But I’ve completed it 3 years in a row.
This year, I decided not to use any cheats. I use a # to denote the end of scene, as is common practise in manuscripts. I have chapters which adds 2 words every 5000 odd. I even have two-half scenes at the end; which I hope to include, but didn’t want to happen until later in the book. I wrote them in the 30 days, so I’m counting them.
I thought this year would be harder, and so far it is.
As Rachel Aaron pointed out on the forums, a sequel is harder.
As someone who’s currently finishing up the third book in her second series, I’m of the opinion that second books are the hardest, because you’re still figuring out the world and the characters to a large extent, only now, thanks to book 1, you can’t just change everything to suit your plot.
So I never expected to write 5,019 words on day 5. I didn’t expect to suddenly be ahead by three days. Yesterday, I wrote 5,925. And I’ve been keeping track of the actual time spent writing, to give me an average words per hour and and idea of how many hours it takes to write a novel.
I’ve been using a tag on twitter to do word sprints, where you set a time of say, 15 minutes, and see how many words you can write, and then compare it to others. I’ve begun running my own with friends and strangers who wanted to do extra ones.
This year I’ve also ended up with more people ahead of me (in terms of word-count) than behind me, which is rare. It’s an odd feeling to wake up and find people are 6-10k ahead of my own, also-ahead goal. Yesterday morning, one of my new NaNoBuddies in Aus (so it was the end of day 10 for them) was at 33k.
I thought after three years and having written the first novel, this would be more familiar. Not easier, but that I’d know what to expect. Instead, I’m wondering if I can meet a higher goal than the 50k in 30 days, and desperately trying to catch up with my friend who reached 30k as I passed 25.
If I can reach 30k tonight I might actually finish the book by the end of the month, reaching 85k. However, I’ve only got the next four scenes planned out and I’m aware of all the things I need to do about my new job, finding a flat, de-cluttering and packing for the move, writing my blog, practising driving, doing housework, working out finances and such.
NaNoWriMo is always one of those things I look forward to, although I’ve attempted just as many novels outside of November too. What I hadn’t expected was the connection with others, the ability to prove I can write 650 words in 15 minutes and the way a novel kind of makes itself once your make the world and characters real.
Just create characters, set them down in a place, and they will live.