NaNo What Now?

Finding your editing process, revising your NaNoWriMo book and building a writing career through publishing and beyond

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Holy crap, I finished! (The book, not Nanowrimo)

by Nov 20, 2009My Writing, On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, Works in Progress0 comments

The novel. It mocks me!!

So here we are at a mere 35k words, nearly 36k and still a good 14k plus away from winning NaNoWriMo and I am done with my book. I was freaking out about this a few days ago when I realized that the book was going to end too early but I don’t think it’s as much of a reason to panic as I did in the beginning.

In the beginning of the book, I was very, moving on, moving on, through all the non-action parts and I think we could go back now and take a little more time with the characters, getting to know them and getting a sense of what they are about.

Also, I have realized what my theme is now that I have written the whole book and I have thought of a good scene that I can go back and add to reinforce that. So I am not freaking out about the shortness of the book right now because the current draft is actually just under 40k so if you figure in the bits I’m going to add, I think it will finish nicely at 50k as a final draft. I did some research and other books for this exact same demographic are just about exactly that length so I feel like we are in good shape.

I could go back and add those new scenes in now but, frankly, I think that would do more to lessen my word count than increase it so I will save that for January editing.

Now, if we forget about the fact that my word count doesn’t reflect my “done-ness” can I just tell you how incredibly epic if feels right now to know that I finished this book? My other book has been in rewrite and editing hell for so long, the ending has never fully been written as the middle changes so often and so I never got the satisfaction of saying “My book is done!” Even now I don’t really feel like I have the “right” to say it because when I say “my book” most people think of my other book but, on a personal level, this is a big thing.

I’ve read in a bunch of different books that some people intentionally make editing harder than it needs to be, specifically because they are stalling, not wanting to finish their books. I was always secretly afraid I was doing this because, while I feel like I am genuinely working on my other book and not just stalling, it has been taking a really long time. But I’ve come to realize that my other novel is, legitimately, a much harder and more complicated piece and needs that much more work. I felt no need to stall as I approached the end of this one and was loving getting to write “The End” at the end of everything.

This doesn’t mean this novel is over-simple and total crap. But this novel is largely standalone while the other novel is the first domino that sets up an entire series so they both need to acomplish very different things.

Is it any good? Now? No, of course not. But I feel like there is a lot about it that is really good and I am looking forward to editing it up and starting to passing it around in the new year. There are a lot of things that I really like about this story and I was writing one of the last scenes with a huge smile on my face because I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out and it ended up working out in a way that just fit everything perfectly. There are some parts of this book I just love.

But, let’s be honest, it’s a mess right now. And I really need to just leave it alone and let it be a mess for a while and force myself not to touch it until after Christmas. Then I can start it fresh with editing and rewrites in January. If I try to start it during uber-stressful Dec, I will only end up tearing it all up and sitting crying under my desk. That never goes well.

So, you say, aren’t you a NaNo loser? Well, no, I committed to writing 50k in the month of November and, by cracky, I’m going to do it. I know No Plot No Problem says to just add random scenes onto the end of your novel if you finish early to reach 50k but that doesn’t see productive at all so I am going to be a NaNoWriMo rebel and use the rest of my word count to write some short stories. I never get a chance to put my shot story ideas to paper so I am a bit excited about this.

Ideally, I would like to end this month with at least 55k. The 50k is to fulfill the NaNo minimum and the additional 5 is to make up for the fact that I totally wrote two scenes in this book twice because I totally screwed them up and didn’t want to rewrite them and I feel like I need to make up for that “cheat.” (If you are curious, those “do-overs” don’t count into my word count for the novel as a whole).

The biggest thing I’m worried about now is which short story to start because I have a few I’ve been mentally outlining so it’s going to be a game time decision. The ones that are going to be the easiest to write are not necessarily going to be the ones I should finish first so I’m going back and forth in my head.

I must confess, the whole novel is too short to win NaNo with thing is still cramping my style on a meta level even though I’m not worried about what it means for the book’s future. I still would love to be able to say, “I finished my book!” without having to asterisk that. But, hey man, I finished my book and I’m going to have a at least one short story done by the end of the month so, all and all, not a bad production for a month I was both overbusy and sick.

So how is your NaNoWriMo effort going over there?



  1. My NaNoWriMo novel is DONE, to the surprise of everyone (including me)! - Hillary DePiano - […] also isn’t the first time I finished my novel before I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I also finished Mistress…
  2. December turned out to be a much better writing month than anticipated - Hillary DePiano - […] a future book, to put it all in there like there would never be another. When I originally finished…

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Hillary DePiano is a playwright, fiction and non-fiction writer who loves writing of all kinds except for writing bios like this.

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