NaNoWriMo 2017, Day 30

63,537 words. That's what I'm sitting at beginning the last day of National Novel Writing Month.

I'm disappointed and yet rather happy with what I've done. I had an outline of the story that was well structured and I cruised through the first 20 days. Waving past the 50,000 word checker flag, I slowed down significantly, hitting under 2,000 words per day rather than continuing at the 2,500-word clip. Why?

I am a new author and I make a lot of mistakes. My first mistake is designing a trilogy (now a tetralogy?) where the protagonists become progressively harder to write. As if writing a novel isn't difficult enough, I up my own stakes. My second mistake in this story is not having a clear ending. I have an idea, which is unlike the first two books, where I was certain where the story would climax and resolve. So, with these two problems, I jumped into NaNoWriMo with a solid plan, because a plan is better than no plan and I don't know the unknown unknowns yet.

Actually the first half of the manuscript draft is quite good - lots of action, reaction, redirection, and reintroduction of characters that have become familiar. Even moving past the middle with a nice turn, the story kept spooling. But as I wrote, something happened. Changes were already begging to be made. These were structural changes that would change the latter half of the story. While it locked me on course for the story, I lost momentum as to where it ended, so I let off the gas. I wrote those final Act III scenes, but I've learned from so much revision of Fall to Earth is that I hate to waste words.

I should get over that. I've also learned that I can't throw away a scene or idea unless I've written it down. Like I said, I make a lot of mistakes.

So, I have some work to do this week to wrap up this rough draft and take a break. I have about 4 scenes left and should clock in the rough around 70,000 words. I'll hang it up for a couple of days and then give it a read and put some other thoughts in there and here.

A final thought: I don't do this full-time. I don't even do this half-time or part-time. I do this in the extra time I squeeze out of other parts of my life. How fast could I write a rough novel draft if I had nothing else to do but write? I know I have creative limits. Is there a challenge for me in there?

Ken Britz