After a long marathon I finally crossed the finish line just before work this morning when the NaNoWriMo website confirmed the word count of my book to be over 50k words. I won the challenge! There are no big prizes or anything. Crossing the finish line at all makes you a winner. Plenty of people don't make it.
There is still a lot of work to be done. A book of 50k is fairly slender. I have a beginning, a middle and an end, but there is plenty still missing from the middle. Then there are the months of rewriting, editing and rewriting some more. Then I will be faced with finding an agent and a publisher. In other words, I've run the race, now I have to climb the mountain.
The book itself turned out to be quite different from what I had been expecting when I started out. As you will often hear writers complain, the characters took over and had their own ideas of what was going to happen. My main character (MC) wasn't supposed to fall in love, then she met one of the other characters and there was no stopping her. Or him. But it led me to create friction, climax, and all that other good stuff that a story is supposed to have. There are characters and places named for people in my life. Though they have little connection. The town drunk, Emory, was named for my maternal grandfather and he was a teetotaler. Nurse Nancy Kay is named for my sweet sister-in-law and the only thing they share in common is the name. The sheriff's wife, Shirley is named for my mother and they are quite different.
When I got down the last thousand or so words, the stress started to lift and I started writing faster nad enjoying it more. So I am looking forward to the time ahead with no clock ticking. I will also be making notes on the next book for the next NaNoWriMo. It will be a sequel to "Tales from the Succotash County Times." I haven't decided which of the three sequels I have in my head I plan to do, but I am leaning toward "Succotash County Anthology," where we get to know the individual denizens of that locale quite a bit better.
I now face having a cold sore as a result of the stress. I shall bear it gladly, for I had a lot of fun doing this. This was due, in part, to the NaNo Facebook chat I joined. And to tracking my NaNo progress on a chart on the NaNo website. Many who competed have no intention of taking their novel any further. For those, like me, who are, I have created a FB group so that we can keep supporting each other. They are from all different walks of life all around the world. It was great getting to swap ideas with people from Ireland and Japan, among other places. Canada is a big one, too.
It is so fulfilling to find the dream I created as an eight-year-old finally coming true.
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