Robin Hawke

NaNoWriMo at 50K
November 16, 2011, 9:05 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges

I didn’t write a novel. Far from it. I didn’t write draft zero, my goal. I wrote something more intriguing, a fully fleshed out backstory silted with story ideas. Should I ever participate again—I expect I will—I won’t begin NaNoWriMo with the same constraints. I’ll give myself new constraints, besides the ever daunting 50K. After all, I know what I got. I won’t need to revisit this particular exercise, though I will adapt it in ways that will benefit my writing process.

Today, my last day of NaNoWriting, was the hardest. Two days ago, the story I was telling ended, but I followed the characters through another challenge. Yesterday, the story ended a couple of times. Somehow I came up with one more thing my characters had to see through.

Today, the story ended after a hundred words. It ended another time, after two hundred fifty words. And so it went. Horrible experience. Three thousand words of extra torture, at least ten more endings: when an author knows the story is over, the story is OVER.

I know my characters better than ever. My challenge will be to forget the backstory I have written, all the opinions that came pouring out of my heroes, and write their story.

I’ll begin by not reading what I wrote. In January, I’ll make an outline. Meanwhile, I’ll incubate. It’s exciting to give myself time to let the story filter through my consciousness. (I’ve missed the incubation part of my process.)

Draft Minus One over, an odd thing happened: I realized what I’d written about, exactly fifteen minutes after I updated my word count.  It took sixteen days, a record achievement! Usually, I’m in one of many rewriting passes when I begin to dovetail the joints of my story.

What happens when you’re always second best?

And that’s what I’ll be thinking about for the next few months.


8 Comments so far
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I think it is a successful thing to discover your story. Congrats.

Comment by Lisa Wields Words

I do too. So, though I kicked my way to the finish line, I’m feeling the success. Thanks Lisa, Robin

Comment by Robin Hawke

Congratulations Robin, an awesome achievement. Wishing you a happy incubation period.

Comment by snagglewordz

Total admiration for your efforts. Marathon complete. It sounds like you know what comes next with surity for having done it.

Comment by ClaireMcA

YAY!!! Congratulations, lady! Job well done and with so much time to spare!! I’m only at 25K myself, but determined. Funny thing is, I don’t feel like my ‘story’ has even started! LOL

Comment by Janece

Congratulations! This year I’m going to fail miserably at my count, BUT be farther along in submitting my manuscript. Some years you just have to make choices. sigh 🙂

Comment by Leila

Robin, kudos for finishing, and finishing ahead of schedule! Sixteen days IS a massive achievement!

I enjoy the insight to your writing process. I am far from the 50,000 word goal, but daily I wonder, “What if the story is done before I reach 50k?” As you said, we know when a story is done, therefore I’ve decided to end when it’s done, 50,000 words or not!


Comment by dolly doormat doesn't live here!

I kept thinking the exercise of pushing past an ending would be valuable. It was–the first time…after that, it was busy work. Some interesting stuff came out after my first natural ending, so don’t quit too soon. Robin

Comment by Robin Hawke

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