I didn't finish NaNo last year until the 28th. This time last year, I remember writing this really awkward, longwinded attempt at closure to a novel that I knew wasn't done. However, last year, I couldn't wait to be done with it, and not because of all the epic stuff you get for winning NaNo. I hated my novel last year. The characters were flat. The setting sucked. The themes I knew that I wanted to write into the story weren't appearing. I wanted to totally revamp it. I wanted new characters, a new setting, and a new history for them. But people told me that I was just tired of it. People told me that I should wait and see, because certainly I couldn't be wrong about something as huge as character and setting.
Mostly, those people were my parents who, fortunately, are incredibly supportive of my writing, if not my chosen subject. They thought that I was just being fickle. What they and I (is that grammaticality correct? It kind of sounds funky) didn't know was that I was right. I wasn't being honest to my story as I wanted it to be; I wasn't being honest to the characters or the Corps or anything that my story was supposed to be about.
And that was a problem.
It was such a problem that I've abandoned this story at least three times. I abandoned it once to do Screnzy in April, once just because I hated it, and then in July of this last summer, for When the Storm Birds Fly.
This NaNo, I knew (even if I didn't want to admit it) what I would write. My affair with Gunmetal Gray wasn't and isn't anywhere near done. This NaNo, I had new characters. Including a new main character without whom I now cannot imagine the story. I have new plot twists and scenes. I have what's probably the worst written, most grammatically incorrect, 'first draft' I have ever written. I don't know if I can even call it a first draft, it's so bad. But there's life there, in the first draft, in the scenes and characters that I never thought I would end up writing. What I wrote for NaNo is the first 50,000 words of the story that's dictated my life for the past two years. On the third of December (a date picked by a friend) I'm going to begin writing the second half, which I anticipate will be about as long as the first.
That gives me a week to plot.
And do everything else I didn't have time to do during NaNo.
Honestly, though, I'm kind of sad that I have this week. I'm sad that I don't have to be working on my NaNo right now, because I've met the goal, even if the story isn't anywhere near completed. It feels weird, not writing my story.
Except I wouldn't have it any other way. Missing the story this much has to mean that we're both going to make it.
That's the magic of NaNo, and that's what I missed out on last year, even though I won.