See that title? Yup, you guessed it. I have won Camp NaNoWriMo!
It was kind of odd at first, because Scrivener told me I had 50,112 words. I compiled it all into one Word document to validate on the website and Word told me I was 55 words short of 50k. So I hemmed and hawed and tried to convince myself that I didn’t need to do that, and then got kicked in the bum and told to write 55 more words. So I did.
In the end, Scrivener told me I had 50,203 and Word told me I had 50,011 words. Either way – I broke 50k!
This is all strictly for my novel. Once I broke 50k, I added in all the word sprints and blog entries. All the chapter summaries and blurb rewrites. Basically all writing for the entire month of April short of Twitter and Facebook posts. Once I added that in, it came up to 63,916. Granted, I probably could have counted that all from the get-go, but I wanted to be true to my novel and write 50k for Soul Weaver alone.
So how do I feel now that I’ve won?
I’m slightly disappointed that I can’t say “I finished my novel,” but I’m happy about where my novel has taken me. When I first started WiMo I thought I didn’t have enough story planned out to get 50k words and I would end up finishing my novel prematurely and forced to write short stories to make up the rest of the goal. However, that is far from what happened.
I’m likely around the halfway point of the book. While I wish I could say that I finished a novel during Camp NaNoWriMo, that would be an utter lie. I could probably write another 50k words before I’d even be close to finished. Which is good right? That would make my word count for the completed novel around 100k words. Unfortunately, it means that I’m not ready to take a good long break from it right now (which after this month, I feel like I need one.)
What have I learned?
I will admit that the last week was the toughest to push through. I honestly hadn’t thought I’d make it as far as I did and I didn’t plan certain parts very well. So when I finally got to that point, it was slow going because I had to make it up as I went along. I had to let the characters take it out of my hands and write the story for me, which proved to be very very very slow going. However, it’s worked out pretty well so far. I got to taste the true world of “pantsing” [writing by the seat of your pants – not having plotted it out beforehand]. While I had considered myself a pantser before, I did have the ‘cheat sheet’ (aka I plotted it out a bit.) I wrote with a generalized idea of the whole story and where it would go, how it would end ect. Now I’m finally back on track with my cheat sheet and could probably hammer away another 5-10k on the next few scenes before I’d be forced to pants again.
For my next novel (which will be a sequel to Soul Weaver. Title to be announced later -aka I have to come up with it), I think I may try to plot more and see where that takes me. I may have learned the hard way that pantsing isn’t as easy as it looks.
I’ve also learned that I allow my characters to write themselves. Keeping in mind that this is a first draft, I think I like that. I feel like I’m able to allow themselves to be natural, not forced. If I feel like I’m forcing a character to do something, I try to throw something in the way that I know would naturally make them go in the direction I need them to go that way they don’t seem forced.
However, I’ve also learned that sometimes I really need a character cheat sheet, so I don’t accidentally write them doing something they wouldn’t naturally do. Hubby caught me a few times making some of my characters a little too agreeable for the sake of pushing through the scene. Usually that would happen when I was too stuck in the mindset of one character and not jumping to the mindset of the others.
Now that I’m officially done with Camp NaNoWriMo I think I’m going to take a couple days off. Or at least if I do write, I won’t push myself with a huge word count. I think I’ll try to plot out the rest of the novel as best as I can before I try to push myself like that again. Come November, I will definitely have a well thought out plot to follow.
I would like to be able to finish my first draft in the next 2 months. I think that will be my goal. By the end of June I should be done with the first draft. Maybe I’ll use the July WriMo to edit. Who knows?
Will I do a NaNoWriMo again?
Absolutely. I may not do another until November (I know they’ve had June and July WriMo’s before, but I won’t commit to anything at the moment,) but I quite enjoyed writing during Camp NaNoWriMo. I would recommend it to any writer out there. Even ‘aspiring’ writers. If you really put your mind to it, and are serious about writing, give yourself a goal and stick to it. WriMo helps. It really does. And the community is phenomenal. Follow WriMo on Twitter, or join the Facebook group. It’s wonderful to be a part of, and a huge motivator while you’re writing.
Even if you don’t think you have anything to write about. It doesn’t have to be a novel. Write from prompts and keep a blog or a personal journal. If you don’t think you can write 50k, then don’t. You can make your goal any number of words. Go for 5k. You’d be surprised how easily you can do that. Heck, just rambling in this blog post has brought me over 1,100 words.
And if you find yourself stuck, reach out to the writing community. You’d be surprised at how supportive they are. I know I was.
In the end, I came, I saw, I had fun, and I plan on buying the t-shirt from the WriMo store.
For those of you who have already won – CONGRATULATIONS!
For those of you still working to reach your goal – YOU CAN DO IT! You’ve still got a few days left! Write your heart out!