NaNoWriMo: The End and an Introduction

Here is to the end!  Woohoo!  After weeks of worry and work, of griping and hope, I have reached my goal of 50,000 words.  I don’t think I’ve ever written that much for one project ever.

And here is to new beginnings!  Because I think I will do this again one day, maybe in November or another time.  I think this is called a rough draft, called story making.  I have much experience with story dreaming, imagining what could be if I got down to write something.  And I have written things for fun and for school.  But my nitpicking to make it perfect gutted it more than produced something.  I’ve rarely fully brought an idea to fruition.  And this has been brought big time, on a scale grander than I’ve tried for before.

I’m still not done with the story.  There’s still a gaping hole of how the characters get from the set up to the conclusion.  The action/climax part was actually the last thing I was working on that got me to 50K.  After writing my allotted 1,600 on the 28th of November, I decided I should give it a rest.  750 words left?  I could do that tomorrow.  Except after a break I sat down again and began typing to while away the time.  Next thing I knew I had well over a thousand words.  And I could keep going…until I hit a road block.  So I’m stuck at trying to find a way to get the action going, to make all things connect.  I think I’ll leave that challenge for another day.  Let it simmer until I come back to it.  Right now my mind is ready for a break.  Or maybe I’m just ready to move on to the next thing.  I have crochet projects to do, holiday stuff to work toward, and people to connect with.  Really, there is so much to do with the worry of writing out from overhead.

But all in all it was an amazing experience.  I really felt connected to something.  I felt this was me.  There were times things stalled.  One day I didn’t write anything at all.  During the Thanksgiving holiday I wrote less, but thanks to a lead the weekend before, I could get away with less words.  And the holiday was a great time to get rejuvenated.  I feared it would be super stressful, but it was not.  It was so special to spend time with family, laugh with sisters who are usually away at school, and do celebrations we only do once a year.  The writing had become monotonous so I could put that aside and enjoy myself.  When I came back to my writing after the holiday, it was something special again.  That mental break was great.

So the holidays surprised me, my routine surprised me.  I thought I would need to go somewhere special like the library or a coffeehouse to write.  The whole month I only wrote at home.  I thought I needed sweets and treats to keep me going.  While tea and ice cream were appreciated, it was not necessary.

I was also surprised by the writing process. I thought the whole challenge would be more difficult to do.  It was not difficult to write, to sit and put words to a page.  What was and still is difficult is believing it all good enough.  And it is good enough.  I got ideas out, and a community encouraging me, and my own determination to do something.  I geared up courage to say I will take this challenge.  And I learned that this is what it is like to produce something.  It isn’t easy magic.  Even The Boy Who Lived had to train.  It doesn’t come out perfectly the first time around.  That’s the biggest thing I learned: how much work, dedication, and practice it take.  I found out not just from talk but experience how important it is to have strong tension and something around which the story revolves to make it truly exist.  And this has all been some awesome practice.

So they call you a winner though it’s not a contest with prizes.  I think they call you a winner so at the end you can raise up your hands and say I made it and to remember why you did it, why it was worth it, and that you did, after all, make some magic just by being willing to try.

But all this talk and I have not properly introduced you to what I have been spending the most time with.

I’ve been fiddling with titles and ways to describe the premise, and thinking about a cover.  I think I have those now, at least in working order until I edit and figure out what else the story holds.

Because I wrote by the seat of my pants, making up stuff as it comes to me while following a general outline.  I look forward to figuring that out in the future, to surprising myself again and again.

And so, for your viewing pleasure, here is the title, the cover, and the synopsis of what I’ve spent a month writing.

(Switched out for first cover for a better version.)

(Switched out for first cover for a better version.)

A young woman must leave isolation in the woods.  A princess is driven from her kingdom. They must fight to connect with their world and to understand themselves, all while searching for a place that matters, a place to claim as home.

What has your experience been with NaNoWriMo? A personal challenge?  What have you felt at the end and got out of it?

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