Tag Archives: novel word count

I Finished My Novel

Yes. Finally. I finished my NaNoWriMo novel. And yes, it’s long overdue, because NaNo ended in November (more about that in a minute). But this is a very special moment because last time I finished a novel… It was more than 13 years ago.

Of course, it’s just a first draft. There’s a lot of editing to do. Currently, it stands at 102 000 words. Out of these, around 86 000 were written in November, during NaNo, and the rest (the last 6 chapters) in December. You could tell I really slowed down in December (be it because I’ve encountered a problem with the plot (yes), or because I lacked the motivation and the rush NaNo gives you). In any case, I managed to finish the first draft on December 30th. I still need to write one short scene in the middle and include a couple of pages between different sections of the book, and then I will have to start cutting. My goal is to make it around 80 000 words.

Additional details

The working title was “Hardin Hades” (in lack of a more inspirational one), but towards the end I’ve decided to change it to “A Postcard From Hades” (or something along those lines). The problem is, the title seems like something more appropriate for a horror story.

Also, I still don’t know what the novel is “about”. It’s obviously, more character than plot driven, but it’s not as heavy as some literary fiction is. Alternatively (and I cringe at this), it can be seen as romance, or young adult. The problem is, there’s way too much sex for YA.

Speaking of which, the sex in the story is not erotica, but very Judy Blume style. It’s the only way those scenes could be written. (The only way that makes sense).

What I learned

I learned that I still have “it”. I still have the urge and the need, and I still have the will needed to write, plot and outline.

I learned I still enjoy it, very much.

I learned I still can’t write short: in my mind, this was a small novel, and I wondered if I’d be able to make it 50 000 words long. But it turned out to be more than 100 000 words.

I also learned I am not as bad at writing dialogues as I thought I was. Some of it came naturally to me, and writing most of it was really easy. On the other hand, I learned I have a problem with so-called transitional scenes, in which I have to describe stuff that happened but not directly show it (and no, contrary to what writing advice says, you shouldn’t always stick to “show, don’t tell” rule. Some things you have to tell (and not show), or else your novel will be either very long or fragmented).

I learned I can write explicit rape scene, but not a regular sex scene from a male POV.

And, very importantly: I learned I’m able to write “on command”, meaning, whenever I find time, no matter how small it is. This is very important, because of the time management.

In any case, I am really excited about this, and, dare to say, proud I finished this novel. It’s not my first, it’s actually my 13th, but it’s been a while. NaNoWriMO came at a perfect moment, and it helped me a lot. It gave me hope and support in a moment I really needed it.

Of course, it also helped me with my writing. My style is still unpolished and not as sharp as I want it to be, but I feel like I’m making a progress. More importantly, I am enjoying it, and I am more and more inspired to write something new. Maybe I should really start working on a novel I’ve been outlining for 7 years now (a fantasy novel I still don’t feel ready to do… But I will have to start at one point because it just won’t be any easier to do it. When novels are in your head for so long, they grow to great proportions, great significance, and it just puts a lot of pressure on you to actually start and write it).

Also, I got an idea (well, updated an older idea) for a dystopian novel about cloning. This one might have a potential. And yes, I know we don’t really need more dystopian novels about cloning (and I’m certainly not as skillful as some writers to pull it off), but it’s ok, because it won’t really be about cloning but something else (as usual). A really intimate story, you could say.

I just wanted to share this with you. :)

So, NaNoWriMo is over…

… and I won!

I mean, I managed to write more than 50 000 words in 30 days, which is an accomplishment. Some of those words I actually like. However, my novel is not finished. I’m around 86 000 words and I’m about to write the most important chapters: the ending.

I’m one of those people who enjoy their beginnings, their endings (even more), but hate their middles. It’s a bit different with “Hardin Hades” (my NaNo 2010 novel). I got through the middle without a problem. The ending is giving me headaches.

It’s not that I don’t know how to end it. It was planned, outlined, imagined, long ago. I am just not sure how to find the right way to make the point I’m trying to make. I am not one of those people that force message to their readers, but I do want to hit the right emotion and to make the novel well rounded. If not, it could end up being incredibly sexist and racist. *

* Why, you may ask? Because the protagonist is a girl with serious issues, some concerning sex, and most of the stuff is told from her POV. I need to make sure people get it’s not how author sees the world, but her fucked up character. Racist? There’s a non-white character that is viewed by everybody as a poor, dirty girl with foul mouth… Only, she isn’t. She’s somebody who plays to other people’s racism so she could hide. This also needs to be made clear.

Even without this issues, my biggest concern is to make the novel well-rounded. The ending is one of the most important thing about a novel (or a film for that matter) and it must work perfectly.

So all in all, I won NaNoWriMo, but I am a couple of important chapters away from winning.

But I must say NaNoWriMo was exactly what I needed at this moment in my life. It was a perfect opportunity to get myself back on track, emotionally speaking, after graduating and not having any ideas about where/how to search for a decent job. It also made me write, and I missed it so much. I feel like a part of me has been sleeping for the past 13 years… But now is awaken.