I am, frankly, feeling a little giddy at the moment. Just this evening I finished my NaNoWriMo novel. I went to a write-in this evening downtown, after spending a big chunk of Thanksgiving puttering away between bouts of cooking. Wrote a couple thousand words at the write-in before the coffeeshop closed, at which point I was only 1500 away, so I rode back home (yes, with a new helmet, on ye olde Townie instead of the Xtracycle) and just pushed through to the end, which as it turned out was almost 600 words over the 50,000 mark.
I don’t know yet if it’s something I can work into a readable state. I do know that a lot of the writing is clunky and awkward, some of it is badly rushed, and there’s a huge chunk of flashback in the middle that may or may not be appropriate for the final piece. But all that can wait a little bit. (I am actually interested in having a couple of gentle readers who like high fantasy look at it and tell me if they think it can be salvaged.) And honestly, the fact that I did this, now, after having been essentially completely stuck with my writing for probably over five years…means I know I can do it again if I want to. Also, that I still love writing, even fighting with the clunky bits and the moments of OMG this is too boring to stand. Finally, that I have other stories to tell, not just the scifi novel that I’ve been fighting with off and on since (gulp) 1994. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I have some ideas about how to wrestle the last big section of that to the ground after this experience.
The “snowflake method” helped immensely; I didn’t go all the way through the process, but as far as I did gave me a solid foundation to work from, including a sense of where the story needed to go. Chris Baty’s No Plot No Problem! book was also helpful, as you might imagine for a work written specifically for NaNo writers. The bit that made the biggest difference for me was the trick of writing two lists: stuff I like in novels, and stuff I hate in novels. Just a good reference for things to toss in when I was getting stuck, and for recognizing when I was writing into a bit of bleh. (My story didn’t have ninjas, but bandits are always good in a pinch. Also, freakishly, the inspiration of a scene from The Craft. No, really.)
Finally, a (mostly*) unsolicited incredibly enthusiastic recommendation for Scrivener. I’ve never been especially devoted to any particular platform for writing. I started out with paper notebooks in my childhood, then graduated to a typewriter, then discovered MSWord in college. I’ve written in several different versions of that, plus Open Office; I started this month’s novel in Google Docs. Then I tried out Scrivener and it was awesome. Great mix of a tool for writing and a tool for organizing writing. Was able to import my inspiration bits (art found on wikipedia plus a selection of pictures from flickr) to have handy, the cards are tremendously useful for finding my place and seeing where the overall story is at. I like the fullscreen, and honestly, with as distracted as I get by the shiny shiny internets, it’s good to have a writing tool that can be used w/out a connection. As C noted, I have now pretty much talked myself out of a netbook, and into keeping the old Macbook for the time being. ::sigh:: But I’m loving Scrivener enough to make up for hauling around something a little larger than I’d really prefer.
So, yeah. It’s a novel. Still giddy. Might be giddy for a while. Might not get to sleep for a while, either. 🙂
* I say “mostly” because I did use the special NaNoWriMo trial version, and I’m fully intending to use my winner coupon to buy it at 50% off, and I’m sure the Scrivener folks do the sponsorship thing to get that sort of attention. But they certainly didn’t ask me specifically to try it out!