Well, I managed to finish NaNo with three days to spare and all it cost me was a migraine, an upset stomach and a sense of complete and utter exhaustion. But I won, and I’m getting a GPSr (not that I wouldn’t have eventually, anyway), and that’s all that really matters, right?
Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near completing the rough draft. I’ve got about 1/3 of the story left to go, if my gut instinct is correct. I’m taking a break mid-chapter (right before a huge sex scene, to boot) to read some short stories, watch movies, play video games and re-establish a reasonable exercise routine before I get back into the swing of things. I’ve neglected a lot for this project, but it was all worth it.
Before I decided to participate in NaNo I was strictly a writer of short fiction, almost always under five thousand words and usually under two thousand or so. I like short fiction, what can I say? Also, the thought of writing a novel gave me the heebie-jeebies. I had ideas for longer works but they seemed so complicated, like I’d have to dedicate months of my life to writing character bios, charting interpersonal relationships, drawing maps and outlining overly complicated plots.
So, so untrue. I was way off the mark.
I can write novel-length fiction. It was rough at the beginning, but I’ve split and rewritten those awkwardly brief chapters into something more like real novel chapters. They’ll improve again (as will all the chapters) when I do my revision in the spring. It’s nowhere near as difficult as I’d made it out to be, and it wasn’t painful at all. I’ve really become quite fond of this. I think I’ll keep going, but maybe not at a breakneck pace. At the very least I’ll find the time for short fiction in with the noveling.
I think the best thing about this is that I’ve come away from November not only with the better part of a rough draft, but I’ve got a better sense of pacing now. I can write dialogue much better than before, as well. Throwing caution to the wind will sometimes net you some pretty impressive results, it seems.
Last, but certainly not least, is my improved writing on sex. I’ve managed to stop choking when writing sex scenes. I may still gloss over things and not spend a whole lot of time on exact detail, but I’m fairly satisfied with my ability to write intimate passages. I can only improve, right?
Practice makes perfect. Give me a day or two to recuperate and I’ll be practicing again.