NaNoWriMo: Get Finished

This series will cover the stages of National Novel Writing Month and offer support and advice. This essay deals with getting finished.

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Epytome / Used With Permission

Follows: Get Writing

So, we’re approaching the end of November, the end of our designated timeline and hopefully balls are all rolling and speeding off to their merry conclusions.

If writing were ever that simple.

See, I know it says write a novel in a month, but most novels aren’t actually 50,000 words. They tend to be, well, longer. So, why does the writing have to end on the 30th? Why do you need to start applying the brakes right now?

If you’re on a roll—and considering how hard it can be to start—I recommend not stopping until it feels natural to do so. If you start thinking you need to wrap up your story now and it isn’t ready, then it’ll be rushed. I know these things can be amended in a later draft, but I’m just trying to make this easier for you. Personally, I’d rather write the ending at a speed I am comfortable with, than trying to fix an entire pacing issue in the final act.

But, whatever suits you.

Say you are at the end, you’ve reached the climax and you’re daunted about whether you’ll be able to pull it off or not. Whether you’ll manage to keep up the writing momentum to reach the final deadline. Well, now’s the time to look at your initial notes or feelings on the story. Are the characters where you thought they were headed? Or have they meandered off the path because of rambling plot or, better yet, have they meandered off because they’ve developed into strong characters with their own will and it no longer suits the plot?

It might be time to see if the plot needs re-affirming or tweaking. Every character in every scene has an agenda, regardless of how big or how small. One character may be trying to get information secretly; the other may just want an apple. The climax is the same. If a character has evolved then their intentions have likely changed, so how the climax will play out will have changed.

This isn’t something you need to worry about unless this change is something you’re stubbornly against, and I advise to look at why this might be. Change isn’t always bad, and if it is a natural, progressive change to your story then fighting it may just stifle the overall work you’re trying to tell.

And you’ve only got a few days left.

Try not fighting it for this one week, and see where it gets you. If you’re not fighting it, then let me know how it works out. It can be amazing how quickly a story can develop, especially in such a short spate of time.

Finally, like I’ve said in every single essay for NaNoWriMo: this is not your final draft. Don’t fret, just keep doing what you love. Don’t compare yourself to others, regardless of how amazing you think they are. You don’t know how many drafts it took to make their work so pristine, and you’re hurrying out your story. As long as you admit this and work on it after, you’ll be golden. Good luck!


Next: Get Editing

Sometimes she writes. Sometimes she doesn’t. Either way, she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing.

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