NaNoFeed: a backward glance o’er traveled roads, or Quitting While Ahead

It’s November 29, and I’m done.

The story is not finished; in fact, the story has developed not only legs but a few other appendages (tentacles, perhaps?) and is wildly propagating in unanticipated directions. I’m not sure if the things I’ve written over the last few days have even made sense, but I have a framework, so at least they fit into some sort of picture of what a novel might look like. It’s more than a little scary, actually, but that’s the first draft: chaos and darkness over the waters.

My body is finished. The headache is more or less permanent, and I’m getting in to my bodyworker as soon as I can manage it. My eyes hurt; too much staring at tiny screen.

I pledged to my characters that I would not abandon them, and in particular, I have promised to keep up the pace of 2000-3000 words a day from December 1 until it’s done, and set myself a working deadline of December 15. That means I can expand the beast by as much as 30,000-45,000 words before calling it a day, and that might just be what it takes.

Meanwhile, I’m taking a break. I won. I used National Novel Writing Month for the purpose to which it was designed: breaking a new path in my work.

  • I posted to this blog every day, and I wrote fiction nearly every day.
  • I exceeded last year’s novel for level of structure, preparation, and length. I actually had a research budget.
  • I started a Twitter feed.
  • I checked out Scrivener, which does automatically what I’ve been doing by hand–kind of like FinalCut for novelists.
  • I spent money and time on research, as if a novel were a deadly serious business.
  • I fought the good fight against raving perfectionism.

Now my job is to kick back for two days, fiction-wise, and remember that I am something more than a story machine. The novel is sneaking up on me, though, and tugging my sleeve with little tendrils of plot. Soon (in two days) I’ll be visiting again.

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