Yeah, I managed it this year. In the end, I got 52,815 words which I think may be my lowest word-count*. Interesting contrast to the last two years, when I would write at least once a day about my progress, sometimes twice or three times. How many entries have I written about NaNo this year? Ten?
The first year was so exciting, because I’d been trying (and failing) to write more fiction for years, and for that month, the whole process was unbelievably exhilarating. The next year was more problematic, as I chose a story that had a definite beginning and a definite end (though I eventually went past that point). It was when I started running short of “middle” that I wondered if I could pull it off. I managed it, though only just, largey because of that “post story” bit (which was one of the best bits, really).
This year, as previously noted in tedious detail, I had no ideas going in, no plan. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do it, but I sat down and started anyway. And I just sort of plowed on through, having things happen, noticing a turn of phrase and turning it into a story element, taking a random bit of dialogue and making it a major plot-point. I suspect that’s one reason why I’ve written so little about the process; the thing was just so fluid, anything I could say would be irrelevant an hour or so later.
In some ways the experience was a lot of fun, but in others it was frustrating. It was like the old Surrealist technique of “automatic writing,” in which a person would put themselves into a trance and just start moving a pen across a page. It’s interesting what comes out, but now that I’ve experienced something like that, I have to say there’s a certain lack of “will” in the end product. I rarely felt as if I was steering the story; mostly, I just sort of transcribed it.
And I didn’t even do all of that. As I write this, the ending hasn’t been written for the story, though I have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to go. (I’m not that fond of the ending, though it fits.) I’ve officially submitted for word-count, though, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can actually keep going with it. Usually, the final submission meant the end of fictioneering. Maybe I can wring out the ending.
Still, even if I can’t, that’s better than nothing, I suppose. And I’m pretty sure I would have been unhappy if I’d sat it out. I’m just not too sure how much credit I can take this time around.
Thanks, as always, to my tireless writing buddies for their encouragement, as well as Shona and Hippie of NotebookInHand for the cheerleading.
*Odd that the NaNo website doesn’t keep any stats for previous years, at least not that I could find anywhere. You’d think as obsessed with word-count as we are, they’d be accomodating. (Oh, and I actually had a lower word-count last year, by about a thousand words.)