30 November 2008

The End of NaNoWriMo and Orphans of Fenris

At a touch under 75,000 words, National Novel Writing Month concludes, as does the first draft of my novel Orphans of Fenris. I had not expected to finish the book within the frame of National Novel Writing Month, and had prepared myself to keep going into early December. However, my productivity was higher than I anticipated, driven by the general excitement of taking part in a world-wide writing support group, writing on my NEO in groups in caf├ęs, and my new appreciation for coffee. (I bought my first ever home coffee-maker during the month.) Also, because I started with an outline—short for me, but extensive for most other NaNoWriMo participants—I was able to keep some control over the plot and guide it to the right finishing length. Seventy-five thousand words is the perfect length for the first draft of a young adult novel. Over the process of revisions, I expect it to swell and contract, and finally end up a 65,000 words… a great length for the genre.

These last two days were difficult, although not in the same way that other stretched earlier in the month were hard-going. With every novel I’ve written, I’ve approached the last day with a sense of sadness. Here it comes, I know as I sit down for the last session at the keyboard, the time when it all wraps up and I’ll type the words THE END. All the work, joy, pain, and the time spent with my characters concludes here. After this, I’ll let it go for a while. I’ll return for the long revision process, but the grand first act of creation (“It’s alive! It’s alive!”) ends at this point. It’s such a strange feeling.

I have plenty of writing projects to keep me busy during December while I let Orphans of Fenris marinate away in a drawer (and in two hard drives, two flash drives, my iPod, and online storage—I’m a back-up nut).

National Novel Writing Month has been an incredible experience, even for someone who has already written a few books before. I’ll eventually write a long article about my adventures in this unusual world, the Iron Man Triathalon for writers, for my blog at Black Gate, and of course I’ll give all my readers here the heads-up about that.