Yup, I’m done. Not just won, but finished writing Still They Watch as of last night. This one took me a bit longer than the last couple, for a litany of reason. I don’t really mind. It takes however long it takes, right? I’m only competing with myself and since the books is done, I’ve won the only prize I needed.
The final count for STW is 107,615 words. This makes STW officially the longest first draft I’ve written to date. Even the first draft of Bound, the meandering one I threw out, was about 1k shorter. I think it’s fairly good on the first-draft curve, but I’m not sure and don’t plan on finding out until next year. I have other things to do before then anyway. So many of them, in fact, that I haven’t even done much sitting back and savoring. Don’t all of your express your shock at once. *listens to the crickets*
There weren’t any real shocking achievements that came out of this. No new record for words written in a day, certainly. Yet I was consistent. I averaged 4k per day according to my metrics, which is pretty damn good since I was still working full time for the whole thing. I am also trying to calm down a bit and say that it’s okay if I “only” write 2k, which is my expected pace. It’s a work in progress, but I think I’ll get there.
This is, of course, the close of the Necromantic trilogy, but it doesn’t feel nearly as sad or as much like an ending as it did when I typed “The End” on The Nine, the finale of the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy. I know why though. This end is also sort of the jumping off place for another beginning. I’ll be coming back to Devan’s world, and to Devan himself in a way, so it’s more “See you later” than “Goodbye.” I can easily live with that.
I’ve learned a few things this time around, as I do every time I write a book. For me, the biggest challenge in writing STW had to do with a subplot that I could only sort of follow, as it was for a secondary character, but it wove in and around the main plot. Telling it satisfyingly in peaks and flashes was hard, and I’m not convinced I did that yet. As always, I know there are months of editing ahead before I let anyone, even beta readers, read it to tell me.
I’ve also learned that launching a book while you’re participating in NaNo is perhaps not good for your sanity. I made out okay largely, I think, because I don’t have sanity. I have insanity, stories and characters. I don’t need sanity. But honestly, it’s been an interesting exercise, trying to balance the two, and part of me is secretly glad I did it (I say secretly because if I find that part, I’m beating it senseless before it can suggest doing this again). Why would I be glad? Because I realize that I’ll probably always be promoting and releasing new books while I’m working on writing for something or other, if only because I don’t seem to ever stop working, due to that missing off-switch. I might as well get used to it, because it’s the way of my future I suspect.
The big challenge I set myself this year for NaNo wasn’t even related to the writing itself. Honestly, even I will agree that I’ve got that down. No problems there. No, I swore to myself that this year, I would try to go to at least one write in. I’ll admit I did so with a bit of skepticism because I’m not normally good at socializing, but I wanted to give it a try. I figured that if it didn’t go well or I didn’t enjoy it, I could just not go to any more. Nothing lost, especially since you’re supposed to write while you’re there.
I went to all of the ones in my area. Every Monday night, plus the Last-Ditch Write-in over the weekend. And I met some really nice people, some very funny people and had a fabulous time. I feel rather fortunate in that the end of NaNo doesn’t mark the end of doing this kind of stuff. They do theirs all year round in my area, which I love partly just for the attitude, that writing shouldn’t just be about November, but rather an all year thing. That’s wonderful. I’m really glad I pushed myself to try this year, though I’m kicking myself a bit for not doing so last year. Then again, I’m not sure I was entirely in the right frame of mind for it at the time and besides, you can’t change the past. Onward only with life.
As I said, I’m not stopping and I know no one is surprised. But honestly, if you knew Cayle the way I’m coming to know him, you’d be screaming for me to get writing him. Actually, I know a couple of people who are already more or less like that and they know very little of him yet. This morning, I whispered to him that it was his turn. In response, he flooded my brain. Thank god for notebooks. I think I have the first maybe quarter of my outline for book 1 VERY loosely blocked. Just headings and a vague idea of the shape. I won’t last until next year. There’s no way I’ll be able to hold off that long. Cayle won’t let me, I know that already. I’m off work for more or less the last two weeks of December, sort of like I did last year. I suspect I’ll be spending that time with Cayle. I’m sure you can all hear how unhappy I am about that. 😀
Did I mention I’ve already got a playlist for Masques?