NaNoWriMo: Winner!

Today I gave myself a pat on the back for “winning” National Novel Writing Month with my book Miss Danby’s Condition (book three in the Harwell Heirs series). “Winning” involves writing 50,000 words* of a novel, then uploading the text file to the Word Count Validator. If you “win” you get a purple bar on your profile page word counter plus lots of little goodies like winner’s badges:

NaNoWriMo Winner 2013

So “winning” NaNoWriMo means you have reached a goal; you don’t “get” anything for winning. For a slow writer like myself, 50,000 words is a lot of words and quite a goal to reach in one month.

*In actuality, one has to write more than 50,000 words as the Word Count Validator and your word processing program (Microsoft Word in my case) are often at odds over the definition of a word. So my 50,186 MS Word words are counted as 50,132 NaNoWriMo words. But then Scrivener (82,664 for my most recent manuscript) and MS Word (82,797 same ms) are also at odds. Which begs the question: what is a word?

So what thoughts, conclusions, advice, strategies, etc. do I have after completing this year’s challenge?

  • I was worried going in that I did not have a virgin character. I write historicals and I like having authentic virgin characters. Well, I found him (yes! him!). He had been staring me in the face all along and appears in all three books of the Harwell Heirs (he’s briefly mentioned in The Pleasure Device; in book two he’s referred to at the end).
  • The opening sex scene is awesome! Then I added a prologue. That sex scene is also awesome!
  • There is some kinkiness which is always a surprise, but is always character driven. Dr. Julius Christopher has a mind of his own!
  • At the same time I was writing my NaNo novel, I was finishing up book two of the Harwell Heirs series. I had to do some major rewrites and gave more importance to a character who had been quite minor. Then I realized he would be fun to add to book three. So there he is.
  • The first book in the Harwell Heirs series, The Pleasure Device, was published during this year’s NaNoWriMo on November 27, 2013. I’m using a lot (all?) of the same characters in this third book (which begins just a few months after The Pleasure Device ends). It was truly a bizarre experience to be writing book three while book one was published! But, I also realized I need to re-read my own book. Some characters suddenly have more importance than originally thought (e.g., see above, re: virgin).
  • I already have an idea for book four of the series, but suddenly, on day 29 of NaNoWriMo, I got an idea for book five! (Book one was my 2011 NaNo novel.)
  • As with almost all of my NaNo novels, at this point there are lots of loose plot threads ready to unravel. And this year, like last year’s NaNo novel, the resolution exists only in the “idea stage” at this point. I have six months to figure all of this out!

As always, NaNoWriMo was fun and frustrating with lots of creative surges and lots of worrying. I’m looking forward to 2014!