Well, I’ve done it.
At 55,671 words, I finished NaNoWriMo with a week to spare.
I’m not saying this to brag (well, maybe a little bit – a “humble brag”, if you will). It’s more to say “wow, I’m surprised this happened, since I’ve barely had time to read a flippin’ Adventure Time comic book, so how was I supposed to write 50,000 words?”
Wanna know my secret? I cheated.
Okay, so I don’t think it’s possible to actually cheat at NaNoWriMo. But I took the slightly-more-easy way out and, instead of starting a book from scratch, I wrote a second draft of my first novel. Which meant there were a few chapters that I could just copy-and-paste from one document into another. And thus I reached my goal sooner than anticipated.
This is not to say I didn’t painstakingly read every word I had previously written. I made adjustments along the way, and formatted the heck out of my new version (for some reason, my original manuscript had “straight quotes” and not “curly quotes” and that gave me such a headache, I can’t even tell you). I came across sentences that I knew I wouldn’t be able to re-write because they just fit so well, and I stumbled on phrases where I cringed because I don’t know why I thought that was a good way to express myself.
I feel like this time around, I got to know my characters even more, which meant I could go through dialogue I wrote 1-2 years ago (I just now realized that I’ve been working on this novel for two years. I’m going to cry. It’s a toddler!), and tweak it so that Olivia always sounded like Olivia, and Finn always like Finn, and Pippa was always Pippa (about a week ago, I turned to Ro and said “man, Pippa’s so unhinged!” and she was all “ya think?”, but I don’t think I ever really registered how cuckoo for cocoa puffs she is until re-writing her interludes).
I also like to think that I made up for this “cheating” by writing more blog posts. In 20 days, I’ve written 12 posts (not including this one, or the one that’s drafted and ready to go on Saturday, or the next installment of Music Monday that’s already done, or the one I still have to edit before posting on Tuesday…). So I like to think that it all evens out.
Plus, forcing myself to focus on one work-in-progress renewed my love for my first baby. Not that I didn’t love it before, I just sort of let it fall by the wayside while I thought about other things (my gay detective, for one. HOLY FRACK, THAT SERIES IS GOING TO BE AMAZING). But now that I’m back in a Fireworks mood, I’m going to spend the next week drafting the sequel (or I’ll at least attempt it). And maybe I’ll even start tackling the beast that is the third book in the series before the end of the year (I’m not going to say it’s unlikely, but it’s probably unlikely).
So to all you out there rushing toward the finish line, may your words fly swiftly! You’re so close to defeating NaNoWriMo – good luck!
And for anyone who’s done, bravo! You made it! Take a break before you re-read it!( Seriously, don’t try to revise right away. NO GOOD CAN COME FROM RE-READING TOO SOON).