I did it.
I am utterly exhausted right now. I have large black bags under my eyes. There is literally twenty minutes to go before my time runs out and I just validated my novel.
It’s not a novel of course; it is a rough first draft. And very rough at that. It has all kinds of crap in it: a table or two, bullet point lists, some strike through parts. It is full of this symbol %%. In my writing shorthand, that means a few different things: check this, research this, match this up with a previous mention and fix the tense. (I switch from past to present a lot. For some reason I plan in present tense and write in past - go figure. I use strikethrough when I am not certain that deleting something is right.) I can search and find all the %%s easily to fix things later without stopping writing.
I also think there are a lot of repeated things and a few errors in the story line. Things out of order. I can drag scenes around in Scrivener very easily, but the more the month went on, the less editing I did. I just didn’t have time.
Like most things in my life, I left it to the last week to get really serious. Plus, I wrote other things. My novel is 50,297 words but my total monthly world count is 78,389. Last month I wrote 58,000 so it is an improvement. I also miscalculated. Where the table says ‘days remaining’ (it shows 1 on the last day) I didn't realise that was an inclusive count. So it said I needed to write 10k in 2 days (easy) but that turned out to be 10k in one day (eek - what?), because I was looking at it before midnight.
I left the sex and the romance to this week, knowing that I would be on the home stretch and writing something that I write without difficulty would make it easier. But I still got up at 6:30 every day and it is midnight now and I am still typing. I have worked in 15 minutes bursts. Setting a timer and stopping when it went off; even in the middle of a sentence. And then I would go do something else for 15 minutes. Oddly, where I came back to a half sentence, I knew exactly what I was thinking and could just write.
I nearly gave up. At day 17 I decided that my story just didn’t have 50k in it. And then I went back and did some serious plot planning. The stuff I should have done before I started, but I only decided to enter two days before it started. That cleared a lot of things up and I saw that I needed more scenes in the first third of the novel.
I also kept getting off track doing medieval research that I could have done later. Do I really need to know the right term for male medieval underwear?** NOW?
But it will need a lot of cleaning up before it can be called a novel; I would say it is 75% done. And for that, alone it's worth doing Nanowrimo.
**They are called ‘Braies’ just in case you were wondering…