It's a long story (no pun intended). Nanowrimo finished last night - of course, for Nanowrimoers in America it's still going, but last night was my last chance to finish off and win. Well - I reached my 50 000 words. I knew that there was sometimes some discrepancy between word processor word counters and Nanowrimo's official word count 'verifier', so I went a little over 50 000, just in case.
So. . . I went to verify my manuscript on Nanowrimo, and it said I had reached a grand total of. . . 48 599 words! Now, by this time it was nearly 10 pm, past my bedtime, and I was getting very tired and cranky! But according to Nanowrimo, I still had another 1400 words I needed write in order to win. I was not prepared to stay up until midnight, madly scribbling away! As far as I was concerned, I had reached my 50 000 words. Open Office - my word processor - said that I had, and if Nanowrimo said I hadn't, then that was its problem, LOL! I had FINISHED my novel! There was nothing else I could add to it - nothing else that I could think of to say.
I felt so disappointed! I almost wanted to cry. I felt cheated, so I cheated right back. I copied and pasted a couple of paragraphs in my manuscript a few times over, so that I reached the 50 000 words (according to Nanowrimo), then I entered that in, and 'won'.
I still felt really disappointed, though. Next time (if there is a next time) I will definitely be checking my word count on the Nanowrimo word counter, not just on my word processor.
But - I reached my goal! I wrote a novel - in one month. Earlier this year, I came up with an idea for a story. I started writing, and got to about 5 or 6 pages. Then after that, those pages lay semi-forgotten in my desk for months. . . until I decided, on the spur of the moment, to give Nanowrimo a try.
So, if it wasn't for Nanowrimo, I would never have gotten my first novel written! So I suppose it was worth it after all, even with all the stress and craziness.
I also discovered a thing or two about myself as a writer. I found out that I write much better at night than during the day. I don't know why it is, but the creative juices just seem to flow better between 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm than at any other time of day or night! So - in future, I might simply not bother about writing during the day, and instead just do an hour or two of storywriting in the evening. Most days this month, I would struggle all day, and end up writing only 500 words or so. Then after dinner, I'd sit down and write 1500 words in an hour or two!
And I discovered that it is generally not advisable to attempt to write a romance novel - no matter how squeaky-clean it is - if you yourself have never really been in love! It just ain't a good idea! I was talking about this with a friend a few weeks ago. She said "Just use your imagination!" A good point, I suppose. After all, my novel is set in the 1790s, and I have no experience of living in 1790s England - I had to use my imagination for that, too! But. . . but. . . thing is, whilst no-one living today has lived in 18th century England, most people have some idea of how it feels to be in love! So anyone reading my novel will immediately go, "Hm. This was evidently written by a silly, romantic, teenage girl, who had no idea what she was talking about. . ." :P
So - next time, I think I'll give romance the flick, and instead write a. . . I don't know. . . I might try fantasy. Not a big fantasy epic - I wouldn't be able to handle the battle scenes for one thing. Boys are good at that sort of thing, girls, not so much. . . So, not an epic adventure, just something small and quirky.
As for my Nanorimo novel - it is a very, very, rough draft! I haven't let anyone - not even my family - read it yet. Maybe after it's been through a second or third re-write, it might be presentable enough to show to someone. . . as it is, there are at least 3 or 4 characters that I'll probably get rid of, and many pages of rubbishy dialogue that I'll have to cut out. Also, I'm not even 100% sure about my plot. . . I might change some of the plot points, and some of the character names.
But for now, I won't be doing any re-writing. I intend to leave it well alone for a few weeks or months, and then come back and read it again, from a more objective viewpoint. The only thing that I'm worried about is that, if I leave it for a while then read it from an "objective viewpoint", I'll probably be so appalled at how BAD it is, that I'll abandon it forever.
Well - whether my poor novel ever sees the light of day again or not, at least I wrote it! It was probably a good experience for me as a writer, and as a person.
So - thank you, Nanowrimo! And I credit my family, Yann Tiersen, and Facebook for getting me through the experience. My family for being patient and forbearing, Yann Tiersen's music for relaxing and inspiring me, and Facebook for providing a vent for me to voice my frustration whenever I got stuck with my novel. Pity my poor Facebook friends, who had to put up with all my complaints of writer's block, and of how slowly the word count ticks over. . .
And finally - it feels so good to discover TIME again! Time to watch movies with my family, time for baking (there have been no cake or biscuits in the house for several weeks now!), time to read (yay!), time to go for walks, time to relax!
And hopefully, time for blogging! ;-)