Last night, on Thanksgiving, I won NaNoWriMo. My validated word count was 51,859. I wrote an average of 1,995 words per day in those 26 days. The fact that I won on Thanksgiving Day is probably appropriate. I have a lot of people to thank.
My writing is never something I do alone, even when I’m sitting by myself in our basement. I’m so thankful to my wife. She allowed me long stretches in the evenings to write. I could never have been a NaNoWriMo winner without her support. Thanks, Joy! You are, and have always been, absolutely amazing!
I also need to thank a group of teenage girls in Fort Wayne who gave me constant encouragement, and even wrote threatening letters demanding I complete my first novel so they could finish reading it. Beyond encouraging me to write, I’m immensely proud of who they are as people. I can hardly wait to see all the things they accomplish.
I also need to thank God for getting into that argument with me at the beginning of 2014 and suggesting, none too gently, that I needed to start writing. I lost the argument (obviously), and haven’t looked back. I love writing.
NaNoWriMo was quite a challenge. It’s a lot of words to throw out in 30 days. The thing is, I know my novel is, at this point, just guts. It might take another 50k words or more to actually finish it. My wife asked me if this is a single novel or if it’s a series. That got me thinking, because there is a LOT more story to tell. It might require more than one book, but we’ll see. Either way, Rifted is going to take lots of revision to flesh the story out into something that’s great.
Excellence requires revision.
One thing I learned about myself as a writer is something of my writing style. I tend to write-and-revisit. I spit out a lot of words and ideas over the course of a few days. Then, I’ll go back and read over what I’ve written and revise for clarity.
Try as I might to make a plan (and sometimes I get really detailed in those plans), I tend to write a lot of material by the seat of my pants. Especially at the beginning. Stuff just comes to me as my fingers are raking across the keyboard, and I’ll roll with it. Then, I’ll go back through it to make sure it all fits.
When I do this write-and-revisit thing, I come up with new lines of attack, new ideas to add, new roles for characters, new arcs for the story, new ways to tie this into that, new ways to deepen the plot and increase the tension, etc. There were several days in November where I wrote several thousand words, but the story didn’t advance from where I had left off. And while it might seem like a chaotic way to write, it tends to work well for my ADHD brain.
The thing is, we’re all different. We all have our own writing style, and we each find our own groove. I’m glad I’ve found mine.
In the end, it’s pretty amazing what we accomplish as writers. I’m still floored that I get to write stories that others come to love and enjoy. It really is a beautiful thing.
Today I’m enjoying my National Novel Writing Month win. I’m proud of my 50k in 30 days. But I’m still a long way from being done.
Rifted is still waiting to be written. Time to get back to it.