My goal was 75,000 words this year. And I still finished early. Ha!
So I guess this is my new most successful year ever, trumping last year’s awesome. I wrote 50% more than usual, I still finished roughly two days ahead of time, and for once, I actually finished the story — I didn’t just meet the word goal! And this was my fifth win in ten years of NaNoWriMo, making my win rate a nice, even 50%. Not bad. Not bad at all. I should feel good about this year, and I do, but somehow this still feels like a muted victory.
I think mostly I’m just tired. It has been a long last couple of months and I was already feeling pretty burnt out at the end of October. But skipping NaNoWriMo is never an option, and I had decided months ago that I was gonna gun for 75k this year, so it was a done deal. @mefloraine agreed to go for 75k with me, but I got destroyed in our second annual ~*Death Match*~.
That’s a downer too, but I’m not mad because despite obvious differences in free time and motivation this year, the rivalry still helped spur me to write, and there were plenty of days where I’m pretty sure the only reason I wrote at all was in indignant attempts to catch up. It never happened though. Because of time zone differences, Mef had a three hour head start on the 1st, got ahead, and stayed well ahead all month. But she was a really good sport about kicking my ass — better than I’d have been if our positions were reversed, lol, so there’s nothing to be mad about. I’ll get her back next year when I hope she gets assigned more homework during November because clearly she doesn’t have enough to do!
I think another reason this year’s victory feels a little subdued is because I’m already have about a billion doubts about what I just wrote. Usually the triumph of actually hitting the word goal is enough to eclipse this, but after four previous wins, I knew I could hit at least 50,000 words, work schedule be damned, and after writing 10k words over the weekend, I knew I would be able to hit 75,000, too. So with the quantitative aspect no longer personally impressive, it comes back down to quality…
For one reason or another, I decided to tackle another slice of the old Lehelle project this year. It’s one of those cumbersome stories you make up in high school and can’t seem to ever let go of, even ten years later. You might remember that something with the same title was my 2010 NaNoWriMo project. But everything I wrote in 2010 is no longer canon! Whoops. I have actually thought and worked a lot on the project since 2010, though none of it involved actually ever finishing or editing my manuscript. Instead, I’ve been rearranging world elements, rethinking plots, and restructuring things in general. Again. I basically end up doing this every few years, but I think I’ve been getting more obsessive about it lately… <_< 2011’s NaNoWriMo was my attempt to flesh out more of the same world without fixating on the same characters, but I went back to them this year.
I recently realized that the project is probably a trilogy, and what I wrote in 2010 was the third part. This year, I wrote the second part. For ease of discussion, it’s been arbitrarily titled Here Comes the Rain. Since the project and characters are so old, I had a ton of reference material for the story, including a brand new thousand word outline. But still, November got off to a rough start. Biggest downside of (re)writing a story that is ten years old, but which changes every year, and which you’ve technically written and rewritten about four times already? Overthinking absolutely everything. And all the insecurities that led to ten years of rewrites in the first place are compounded.
And yet, I was still compulsive enough to derail completely from the outline around 20k words. I rewrote the middle part of the outline to account for this. Then I deviated from that. I amended the outline a second time, only to immediately disregarded that too. And then I just kind of gave up trying to plan anything because I don’t even know anymore, man. This story has never listened to me, really.
But I kept writing.
And for the first time, I kept a list of things I wanted to change later. Why I never did this, I have no idea, but it made me feel a lot better about moving forward because I knew I would come back to fix things later. And I will. I say every year that I’m going to finish my stupid manuscript post-NaNo and edit it, and then I never do, but this year I’ve finished the damn story already and I have a (very long and intimidating) list of things to add/change/edit, and goddammit, I will have some kind of rewrite/edited draft before next November. I will.
I hit 50k on the 22nd, the same day I hit it last year, so I guess that’s a thing now? I bought my winner’s shirt. It’s the first new NaNo shirt I’ve gotten since 2009. I didn’t win in 2010, and I really kind of hated 2011’s shirt(s). It’s also the first time I’ve gotten the actual winner’s shirt instead of the generic year shirt. I just liked the design better this time. :O
The next ~20k words were a lot easier for some reason. Mef hit 75k on Monday, the 26th. My story was finished around 72.5k words, and I thought about just stopping, but then I wrote some random drabbles and something maybe resembling an epilogue except not really because it should really just segway into the last part of the trilogy. At 4am on the 29th, my final word count was 75013. And I think the manuscript should still be around 75k even when I go back through it; while there are a lot of bits that’ll likely get axed, there are an equal number of scenes that I’ll probably end up adding. We’ll see.
But yeah! Goal met. Story done. Bloody tired and feeling all kinds of mehhhh about what I’ve written, but whatever! I’m going shelve the draft until January, but I doubt I’ll be able to stop thinking about it regardless. I mean, I draw the characters from it all the damn time and have been for forever. u_u Next year, I will edit this thing.
REALLY. I WILL. ;___;
Spoiler: Turns out the scene depicted above doesn’t actually happen.