The Day After

December 1st. The downhill plunge towards Christmas is underway. And a month of feverish typing has come to an end. Yes, NaNoWriMo is over for another year.

Over the course of November, I wrote a total of 50,008 words. I just about squeaked over the finish line.

Overall Thoughts

I suspect I have not written a novel, but a novella – and this is not a bad thing. It struck me a short way into the month that I was missing a subplot, that a rewrite might introduce another aspect that would intertwine with the first. I’ve changed my mind. I’d rather tone this story up on its own merits than try to artificially lengthen it by splicing in a second. If anything, I think a rewrite may cut out some of the fluff and make it even shorter.


Having a plan in place was a huge help. I didn’t have to think too much; I could just open up the project and start typing. It also showed me early on that I was likely to run out of plot before I completed the challenge.

It’s projects like this that really demonstrate the advantages of software like Scrivener over a plain word processor. I planned out the entire novel in lots of smaller chunks and I could just write in each chunk separately. When I added new scenes between existing ones, I could just create a new chunk and start typing without needing to rearrange everything.

The Final Rush

When it became clear I was running out of story, I needed to add some more scenes without too much hassle. The first thing I added was an epilogue, using an idea that came to me a few days earlier that opened up the idea of future adventures (I’m unlikely to ever explore them myself, but it’s a nice addition for readers to spark off their own ideas). Then I added another scene in the middle to better describe what my main character was told about in another. And it was still too little.

So I added a prologue. I may have spoiled the mystery of the rest of the story a little with it, but it was almost enough to hit the target. I could always remove it, though I hesitate to do so. I think it’s one of the better scenes, despite being rushed out in the last two days!

With less than two hundred words to go, I went through the rest of the story. I added lines here, sentences there, anything to bump it up that last bit. I was checking my word counts half a dozen times.

Overall Impression

It’s not a bad story. I had fun writing it, and I think – with some work, and a bit of time for it to fade out of my active memory – it could be worth publishing one day. It was hard work, however. Writing at this rate on top of work and everything else in my life is exhausting. Today, apart from the words you’re reading now, I am writing absolutely nothing – a rare day off from the craft to rest.

I think it wasn’t planned out enough. What I had was good, but there were plenty of bits where I could have figured out what I was doing earlier and gone into more detail. I would probably have spotted my lack of a subplot and created something deeper from the start. And I’d still be writing it for the next few months!

What Next?

A well earned rest, followed by a return to my second novel, which needs a few minor tweaks before it’s ready to start the publication process. After that, I’ll be revisiting my NaNoWriMo project from last year; it needs rewriting and reworking, but it’s largely there already.

And after that I may be ready for a new project.

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