NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap-Up

This never gets old.

I did it! 

The novel I didn’t even know I was going to write until the afternoon of November 1 is a wrap. I have an actual, complete draft I believe I’ll be able to whip into a story other people want to read. (Eventually.)

Given that the concept and the characters didn’t come to me until the first day of NaNoWriMo, I’m pretty thrilled to have completed this one. In 2011 I didn’t join NaNoWriMo until two days before it started, but I’d been trying to write my 2011 project for years beforehand and knew the basic story and characters. 

Not this time. 

I haven’t bought myself a NaNo winner’s shirt in a long time, but I really liked the steampunk-y look of this year’s logo and felt that this particular win was significant given the challenge of conjuring a novel out of thin air in 30 days. So I treated myself.  

At barely over 50K, The Perfect Candidate is my shortest winning effort. As I’ve said before, that’s OK. I’ll be able to flesh it out a lot next year when I start reviewing it. 

Concurrently with NaNoWriMo, I’ve been reading David Lynch’s book Catching the Big Fish, all about his observations on meditation and creativity. (Surprise! He’s in favor of both.) If you like David Lynch, and I really do, it’s a good read. 

One anecdote from the filming of Twin Peaks really stood out to me: The character Killer BOB wasn’t in the original story. Lynch spotted set dresser Frank Silva’s reflection in a mirror during a shot (where it was not supposed to be), asked Silva if he was an actor, and told him he was going to be in the next scene. And the rest is TV history. 

That story jumped out at me because I noticed that time and again, I kept calling my MC by another name. And then I had an idea about why that might be happening, and I worked it into the novel. I don’t know if that will prove to be a Killer BOB-level decision, but Lynch’s point is that you need to be open to letting your stories take turns that surprise you. And I’ve been getting surprised by this novel all month long, starting with the way it came to me. 

Now’s the time when I leave it alone for a month or two before the revisions start. On top of finishing a novel draft, I wrote two short stories for the Weekly Knob in November, so I’m feeling pretty good about all the writing work I got done last month. December is for celebration.

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