After having participated in NaNoWriMo (and after having thought about it for a couple of days), I have a few thoughts. First: it really wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I made it my goal to try to write about 2000 words per day (a goal that I sometimes kept and sometimes didn’t), which, if you don’t dilly-dally too much, is only about an hour to an hour and a half of actual writing time. Not too bad. I do think I had a pretty big advantage in that I already had most of the broad strokes for my novel in my head, so I knew generally where I wanted things to go. I think, once that’s done, a novel actually can pretty much write itself; that’s what it felt like a lot of the time.
I think the hardest part of NaNoWriMo, for me, was the last 2500 words. One reason for this was that I had already pretty much finished the entire story arc by the time I got to that point, so I was using those last 2500 words to just expand on previously written scenes and otherwise pad my word count a little bit. The other reason is a little more personal (and I won’t be sharing it in this forum), suffice it to say that NaNoWriMo was way down on my list of priorities during those last couple of days; it just didn’t seem as important.
Anyway, now that it’s done, I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out. That said, my book still needs a fair amount of work. I wrote the book as two separate narratives from the perspectives of two different people, and I have yet to integrate them into a single work. So there’s still that to do. Also, I’m sure there are certain parts of what I’ve written that I won’t be using, and other parts that I will be expanding upon. The thing is, despite the name of the contest, I don’t think I wrote a novel. It’s a complete story, to be sure, and it’s longer than a short story, but I think that 50,000 words is really more of a novella than a novel; I think you’d need at least 75,000 to 100,000 words to really be able to call it a “novel”. The thing is, though, I’m fine with that. I’d like to eventually get this thing published, and I’m just as happy getting a 100-page novella published as I would be getting a 300+ page tome published.
So who else out there finished NaNoWriMo? Who tried but didn’t quite make it? I’d like to hear some of your stories, too!