That was my word count as of last Saturday, November 23. I had 7 days left until NaNoWriMo was over-reach 50,000 words and I could be declared a “winner”.
But after Saturday night, I stopped writing.
I looked over my story and got some feedback from my beta reader (thanks, Mom!) On Sunday, I started to question the story I was writing. Did the main character fit my vision of how he should be? Did the words flow easily so that readers could follow along? Did the plot connect to the overall theme I wanted to project?
The answer to all three was no, so I decided to stop.
At least, I decided to stop writing the story to finish NaNoWriMo.
I came to the conclusion that even though I was reaching my word count goals and that even though I was writing a “good” story, it still wasn’t enough. I wasn’t happy with the story that had been produced. It started off strong, but as time progressed, it got off track. It was no longer the “right” story.
But I wanted it to be.
And so I made a decision. I decided to go back in my story, keep what was good, and re-write the plot from the middle. More ideas came to mind and I started really analyzing where I wanted my character to go and how I wanted to get him there. I decided to oust one villain in favor for another and realized that if I’m going to have a central theme to the story, the plot and characters need to connect to it.
I won’t lie when I say I was a bit frustrated at first realizing I was going to quit after coming so, so close to “winning” NaNoWriMo. But then I started to look at why I signed up in the first place. I wanted to write. I wanted to create a new novel to boost myself out of writer’s block and give myself extra practice at something I love to do and want to learn more about. I didn’t sign up to win (although I admit I wanted to). The goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t to race and write a novel in a month-the goal is to simply write.
And that’s what I did. It got me writing more than I have in years.
43,696. That’s what’s going to be my final word count for the “NaNoWriMo version” of my novel. But now that I’m revising it and taking the story in a new (and more exciting) direction, I think the word count is going to be the least important part. I have a character who is complex and unpredictable, a plot that is engaging, and a theme that is very close to my heart. I started with the story I wanted, but now I’m going to finish the story with what I needed.
So thank you, NaNoWriMo, for helping me write again.