The Home Stretch

So NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close. As of today I am within the closing 9,000 words (What?! Over 9000! …OK, I promised myself I wouldn’t go there, but how many chances am I going to get that opportunity in the future?). As far as the story has gone, it’s not finished. Not even close. But that’s not the point. I see the end of the tunnel, and the light is bright, and warm, and welcoming, and the light for a winner. Which I will be. In 9,000 words.

I have almost 30,000 words waiting from the old draft to eventually be merged into the work I have done this month, which will be my first job once I’ve verified my word count. Since many of the scenes in that draft were re-written as part of Nano, I imagine the end result will most likely be a 20-25k addition, if that. There was a lot of crap in there. There’s a lot of crap in this new draft, too, but I’ll work on that next month.

Taking part in this has taught me a lot. Mostly, it’s taught me that I don’t like deadlines. I have been this way for a long time, which is probably why I will never succeed at traditional publishing. The more I get pressured into doing something, the less I want to do it. The expectation is too much. I aim low, then anything extra is a bonus. But let’s not put too much of a negative slant on that.

The main thing I’m going to take away from this experience is that it is okay to produce a terrible first draft. It’s more than acceptable, in fact. All that has mattered is that you have your ideas, stuck them in a pot, and thrown something out there. If it’s crap, it’s crap. That’s what editing is there for! The important stuff can come next month, when you can trawl back through the mess and pick out the good bits, the really good bits, and throw away the other 40,000 words. And hey, you have a really superawesome mini novella. What are we calling it? NaNoEdMo? Can’t wait!

It was also a great experience to be able to share with thousands of other people via that technological behemoth that is Twitter. Listening to hundreds of people talk about the same things I am is like having an entire support group at your back:

“Hello, my name is Kat, and I want to write books.”
“Hi Kat.”

It has also reminded me to sort through my iTunes catalogue some time. The amount of times I was stopped from some incredible prose (including right now, where I’m bring interrupted by the Power Rangers theme, which is only made of pure awesome so we can excuse that) because the music went from some fierce techno rap metal to Ludovico Einaudi (both of which I love, but it doesn’t help when you’re trying to write a bloody, stabby, fangy action scene and Le Onde fills your senses with nothing but sheer serenity). Kind of ruins your flow for a minute while you skip back to some Spineshank or Skinny Puppy.

And lastly, it has reminded me that I do get a lot of support for this thing I call a hobby (but let’s face it: it is a bit more like an obsession). I have a better half who makes me cups of tea and doesn’t complain that I won’t come and sit with him for a while because I’m still a few hundred words behind count for the day. My family show me the best support they’re able to, which is great for a group of people who don’t even like vampires. My real life friends, for what ones there are out there, are interested when I chat on about vampires and the end of the world and whatnot. Or at least they pretend to be. I don’t care if they’re being genuine, only that they humour me. Same goes for my “online” friends, the Facebook and MySpace and more recently Twitter folks, and let’s not forget the World of Warcraft people (I’ll be back with you soon, guise, I promise!).

And so, with 4 days and 8,713 words to go: I thank you all, power to the people and all that, and I’ll see you all at the finish line!