As she leaned out through the window of the car, a bullet flashed past Lee’s ear. She laughed, but it was carried away, lost in the wind that whipped her long black hair around her face.
It’s done. After nearly a month of ups and downs, days where words flowed from my fingers and days where I sat in near tears at the frustration, and days where I felt close to quitting, NaNoWriMo is over for me. The bolded sentences above were the first I wrote on November 1st, and 27 days later I had over 50,000 words. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Lee laughed again and shouted into the cacophony, “Missed me, fucker!”
Honestly, if you had asked me at the start of the month if I would be sat here typing this right now, I would have probably said no. I wanted it so badly, but didn’t necessarily believe I could actually do it, especially not after last year’s fiasco. Is it weird that I found it easier to write about my fucking it up than my succeeding it?
I think the reason I succeeded this year was that this is the first time I’ve ever written with a plan in mind. Every time I got stuck in my story, or bogged down in a plot line, I could consult my plan document and know which scene I had to get to next. And more to the point, it wasn’t boring. I was always afraid writing with a plan in mind would bore me, but I still had room to mess around and experiment with characters and plots, but now I had a structure to come back to whenever I got lost.
“A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.”
So, what now? Now, I take a break for a few days. I haven’t really been allowing myself to switch off at all for the last month, and what people don’t tend to tell you is that writing is tiring. You may laugh, and point out that I’m sitting down and typing, and you’d be right. But it’s emotionally and mentally draining. Even when I’ve been getting a good night’s sleep, I’ve still been tired during the days from just working at this intense pace.
But, the story’s still not done. My plan is broken down into five acts or parts, with a prologue and epilogue to bookend it. The first 50,000 words encompasses the first three of those acts and the prologue, so there’s still a way to go. After my break, I plan to continue Post-Apocalipstick into December, but at a slightly more relaxed pace. I’ll be aiming for 1000-1500 words a day rather than a solid 2000, and I hope to have my first draft finished by some point in January at the latest. From there, who knows? I have a couple more ideas fermenting that I’d like to play about with before I throw myself into editing Post-Apocalipstick into something readable.
“Writing is such a damn lonely sickness.”
Credit must go where credit is due. I would first like to thank the people over at the NaNoWriMo subreddit. They have provided a community for me to be part of during this crazy time, and some friendly competition has been what I needed at times to keep myself motivated.
There are also a large number of friends and family I owe thanks to, both for encouraging me, and putting up with my moods and absences. It’s a cliché, but you are all too numerous to list, otherwise we would be here all day. You know who you are though, and I thank and love you all.
Finally, I can’t advocate stealing, but I can get behind borrowing, so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the last two bolded quotes were borrowed from the Letters From Zedelghem segment of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, which I finished last night. Wonderful book, I highly recommend it. The trophy image is taken from notably terrible game Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. It’s so tragically wonderful, I couldn’t resist using it.
Regular updates should begin again Monday, where I will have some things to say about Telltale’s The Walking Dead game. Chris Mansell, signing off.