Made it! #NaNoWriMo 2016

Yes! Over the line! There is nothing like the wonderful feeling of relief when you paste your words into the little box, click ‘Validate’, and the little trophy pops up. NaNoWriMo is complete!

This time I was actually in the process of writing the last chapter. As usual, I was doing a 25-minute pomodoro, which is great for stopping me faffing about, looking at the word count, checking Facebook, etc etc, so I never even noticed until my phone buzzed. And there it was! Two minutes later, I had my lovely winner’s banner, as showcased above.

I haven’t gone back and finished the chapter yet, even though I’m dying to. The reason is that I’m putting the finishing touches to A House of Mirrors. The ebook formatting’s done, and next up is the paperback formatting, planning the launch, and all that jazz. I also rather like the symmetry of wrapping up last year’s NaNo book and writing the end of this year’s at the same time. Or maybe I’m a bit odd.

Anyway, back to this year’s book, Murder at the Playgroup. Am I pleased with it? A cautious yes:

  • I wanted it to be a shorter book than A House of Mirrors, and the first draft is looking like 51K; HoM came in at 81K for the first draft. I’m sure I’ve left loads out, mind you, but that’s what the edit is for.
  • The book wasn’t always an easy write, and in some places it’s a bit darker than I thought it would be. Overall, though, I *think* it’s turned out more or less as I wanted: a light, funny, easy read (or it will once I’ve tinkered with it). Once the first draft’s done, I’ll be packing it away in a straw-lined cardboard box to hibernate until 2017.

Here are the final set of stats for this year’s NaNoWriMo:

  • Official NaNoWriMo word count: 50,688
  • Chapters: 30
  • Writing days: 18
  • Average words per calendar day: 1,689
  • Murders: yup, still 1
  • Post-it notes with scribbled chapter summaries: 37
  • Plays of the playlist which starts with Scritti Politti’s Absolute: you don’t want to know. Really.
  • Cups of tea: waaaay too many, and my protagonist drinks almost as much tea as I do!
  • Snacks: about half a pack of Jaffa Cakes, several packets of roast chicken crisps (oh dear)
  • Times I’ve thought I’ll fix it in the edit: waaaay too many
  • Times I’ve wondered if I should just rewrite the whole thing in first person, and then thought I’ll fix it in the edit: maybe every other chapter

So what next? Well, in a shock move I might start thinking about a sequel to A House of Mirrors. I was thinking about jumping straight into a follow-up to this book, but having written it, I want to let it sit and sort out whether it’s a first or third person narrative. Alternatively, I have had a little idea for another Jack Hargreaves book, which is calling to me… Or I might just pause, and think about planning for 2017. We’ll see!

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