It’s official now – I’m a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

(See the Winner badge above?)

So, NaNoWriMo is officially over. It ended at midnight on 30th Nov.

Even before the final day I had submitted a work of over 50k words, so MY NaNoWriMo was over as early as Saturday, 27th.

Some statistics – I submitted 50519 words, grouped in XXIV chapters. I found a slight discrepancy in the chapter numbering, so maybe the chapters were in fact one or two more or fewer. I have one Main Character and around 10 minor ones, who are either her very good friends or not, but tend to appear often in the story. I have some even more minor characters who fill in the crowd scenes, so to speak. I wrote the novel in English and still am not sure whether I will translate it into Bulgarian.

Credits section: First of all, thanks to Adi who, in the first place, started chatting about it in Twitter and suggested I should give it a try. Then, thanks to my husband, Emo, for his support throughout the entire month, for looking after our girl, for cooking, for doing chores, for keeping quiet, for amusing me when in bad mood and for his never doubting I can and will do it; besides that, it turned out he had believed all along I could tell great stories and was himself thankful to the event that made me realise it, too.

Lessons learned section:

The most I have learned was even before November: Firstly, preparing a set of characters with descriptions, bios and goals was of vital importance for my success. Before I seemed to wallow in mediocrity exactly due to that lack of pre-created characters. Secondly, having at least some outline is of tremendous help for me to start. Over the initial days, without any particularly clear idea of where I was going, the outline was a real prop to which I leaned and on which I relied to go forward. Later on, I did not need it so much, yet it is still a good idea to keep an independent track of your characters and scenes they take part into, because after Week 2 I noticed that I had put the same character in two places at the same time and I also noticed that I had given a wrong description to a character. Many more inconsistencies will emerge, for sure, yet the outline and assisting files (as I call them) where I group Characters by certain features and events have to be maintained and frequently checked.

Then, I learned, or rather found out that I can be quite creative as to events, experiences and conversations. Particularly, the conversations of my characters, came as a sheer surprise to me, as I was not aware I was able to do it.

I found out that what they say about ‘Don’t worry if your characters take on a life of their own, just follow them’ and the one about ‘A story writing itself’ was sooooo true. Just after Week two was over, I had noticed that happening with my novel and me and it took me the whole Week three to get used to it and stop feeling so surprised. Unfortunately, that new awareness took away my edge and my mind started to wander at off-topics, so to say, now that it was not busy thinking of the tense plot and how-tos. So, my final week was not so brilliant in terms of prose achievement, the story got flat, diluted, and pointing to a dull end.

That was the final thing I learned during NaNoWriMo – that I should never relax and that a story does not actually write itself so readily. One has to put some effort in it, first, it seems, after all.

Bottom line, I still have to finish the novel as it is somewhere in the middle right now. I have put a deadline for that, let’s see if it works. I took the over-satisfied grin off my face and went back to work with the initial awe, thrill and diligence, yet armed with the new knowledge that novel writing is within my reach. Which alone is worth it, isn’t it?