Making a good finish of it

November–and Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month) is almost over. A lot of people will be trying their best to close in on 50,000 words by midnight tomorrow. To cheer them on, today’s post is a collection of wisdom about FINISHING.

A 50,000-word manuscript that has a beginning, middle, and end technically qualifies as a novel, in some genres. For my particular genre, science fiction, the contemporary normal finished length is 90,000-120,000 words, so 50,000 words will get you maybe about halfway there.

But no matter how you slice it, 50,000 words in one month is a prodigious chunk! It’s a noble goal, a major effort, and a valuable milestone. So here’s to finishing your fifty-thou, even if you aren’t “really finished”!

One more thing. Once you’ve finished your 50,000 words–or however many you manage this month–take time to celebrate! Yay! You did it!

ANY amount of words add up to more than you had written before, and every special effort deserves recognition. Just be sure to get back into the chair on December 1, and begin again.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeff Goins for the quote images for Bradbury and Lamott, to Happy Monkey for the cartoon about finishing your novel, and to 8 Tracks for the mountaintop celebration photo. 

Working on a first draft?

Why would anyone try to write a novel? It’s an appropriate question for Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month). Personally, I’m in great sympathy with Toni’s reason:

In my experience, writing the first draft of any project, especially a novel, is an exercise in faith. Faith that you’ll work out the problems, that you have something interesting to say, that you’ll find good, better, and even-better-than-that ways to say it. Everything is possible at the beginningespecially in my chosen field of science fiction.

But then you start to create your world. And that means rules begin to appear. Now if you want to break those rules, you have to change the world. Sometimes it’s worth it. But if you do, it’s okay. It’s the first draft.

If that’s a little too free-form for you, this thought may capture your creative process better:

However you manage to create your first draft–and whatever it looks like at the end, I have just one more thought for you:

IMAGES: Many thanks to Laugh.Love.Live, for the Toni Morrison quote; to Chasing the Turtle and Alice Walker for the quote about flying; to Writingeekery and Shannon Hale, for the “shoveling sand” quote; and to P.S. BartlettAuthors Publish, and the late Terry Pratchett, for the “telling yourself the story” quote. Finally, many thanks to Novel Kicks, for the unattributed “best and worst” quote. So True!