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A Novel Completed

The results of a successful NaNoWriMo 2023. Did I finish it? Well, yes, because I just called it successful.
A Novel Completed
Photo by ron dyar / Unsplash. It's definitely not this many pages.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about writing the first draft of a novel in November.

Well ... it's done! It took 21 days over 22 days. (I took day 9 off to do a 🧩 puzzle.) I tracked the progress in this handy dandy spreadsheet:

For some reason, the charts are really handy for keeping me motivated.

The Numbers

51,671 words over 22 days. That count doesn't include the epilogue I added afterwards, or placeholders / revision notes.

~2,350 words per day on average. ~2,460 per actual writing day on average.

I generally write about 800-1000 words per hour, so this took somewhere between 2.5-3 hours per day of just writing.

That's a big time commitment already but it was also the main thing I thought about for the entire month. And the month before. And lots of times before that. I first tried to write it in 2016, but the idea wasn't ready. I came back to it a few times since. I remember writing a sample chapter on my phone while I was standing on a sidewalk outside a grocery story waiting for my partner during that period of time when two people couldn't go into a store together. (Nothing I had previously written made it into the current version btw.)

What's that thing about overnight successes taking 10 years?

The State Of The Thing

It's a rough first draft full of typos and continuity issues. My rule when writing was to keep going no matter what. If book-spanning ideas evolved as I was writing, I wrote the evolved version in the current chapter and made notes to go back and fix the previous chapters. I didn't have any major issues with structure, since I had worked those out beforehand, but characters and motivations and themes emerged in ways I didn't expect.

I completed the story within the 50k words, which was also a goal that I had set. That meant rushing a few parts. There's a long list of revision notes as well, so I expect the 2nd draft will be around 60-70k words. Probably. I don't think this type of story in my style fits the 80k+ length, at least. TBD.

Can I read it?

Yes! Hopefully. My goal is to have it ready for beta readers in the spring, but that depends on how the editing process goes. I need to let it 'sit' for a while first so I can come back to it with fresher eyes.

I would also like to hire an editor, so if you know of anyone who does that sort of thing do get in touch.

I loved the process this year and it's so nice to have that thing that's been in my brain for years finally out of there. If you've ever even kinda considered writing a novel idea that's been banging around in your head, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Now excuse me while I roam the lands for a new not-writing project like a starving whatever-they-call-big-dinosaurs-these-days-they've-all-changed-since-I-was-young. 🦕