Last night around 9:30pm I finished writing the endgame of my 2011 National Novel Writing Month project, The Necromancer and the Barbarian: A Love Story. I promptly sent the revised full manuscript and the replacement final chapters to my beta readers.
And then I sat up until 2 a.m., on a work night no less, doing celebratory goofing-off, which is to say, rereading the stuff I’d just written, reviewing chats with my writing buddies, and thinking about the next steps.
There’s a lot to occupy me in the six to eight weeks before I look at this project again. For one, there’s the copy-editing and second-pass beta reading I owe my good buddies, as well as a pile of editing for other projects. Oh yes, and taxes, and blog posts, and other things that pass the time.
Retrospective statistics on NaNo 2011:
- October 2011 (plus the last week of September): 65,000 words of background material, including character interviews, plot outlines, and research notes. There was a fair amount of research time, which hasn’t been logged yet, which felt a lot like leisure reading or fooling-about on the internet.
- November 2011: 85,000 words of first draft.
- December 2011: 2,000 more words of first draft, 3500 words of plot notes
- January 2012: Villain’s character interview (12,000 words); 6,000 words of first draft
- February 2012: 2,000 words of first draft, finishing the novel on 2/7/2012 around 9:30pm. Completed first draft manuscript weighs in at around 95,000 words.
Total time: 4.5 months; total words: 175,500 words (95,000-word novel draft, 80,500 words of character interview and plot notes).
Research materials: probably something in the range of 200-300 pages of on-line materials; estimated 10-12 hours of video viewed; additional 500-1000 pages of references to follow up for second-draft revision. Key here (what doesn’t show up in the stats) is that it’s all fun stuff.
Early reactions from my most ambitious beta-reader echo my own impression of a fairly well-built novel. It’s not a true NaNo novel, because the full project spanned four and a half months. I did leverage the November novel-writing event to do the majority of the first-draft writing, but some of that was re-writing or clarifying scenes that already popped up in the character interviews. On the other hand, I’m a lot happier with the result.
The hardest part was stitching together the lead-in to the climactic confrontation and finding the right scene to end on. This time I decided to leave the ending a little bit open, with the thought that the end of one story is the beginning of another. The end and the beginning were the slowest parts; most of the work during high production was done in 30-45 minute bouts.
And now, on to the next thing.