I did it! After six years of participating in NaNoWriMo, this year I finally won! I wrote +50k words in the month of November!
I might have cheated a little bit, though…

So, I’m pretty sure you know by now what NaNoWriMo is. I’ve mentioned before how Welcome to New York was born from my first participating in the challenge, and then I’ve worked on Once in a Lifetime for a couple of Nanos, too. I had never won, though, I had never written the 50 thousand words in a month. Well, this year, it changed. But I also didn’t write a whole novel.

The original idea of the challenge is to end the month with a rough first draft of a novel. Since it’s a self-inflicted challenge, though, there are no strict rules, which means it doesn’t need to be 50 thousand words of a novel. You make your own rules. And that’s what I did this year, hence why I finally won. I divided my plan into three parts:

  • Once in a Lifetime rewrites

When November started, I was more than halfway through editing the first draft of my second (and third) novel(s). Since I decided to divide it in two and write the whole story from a second POV, when I got back to the first one to edit, most of the story had changed. So, almost half the book was rewritten. By me. Of course. Becky’s story — the original one — is almost a new one. I changed a bit of her personality, her relationships, and some facts about her past. I think I like her a lot better now, although you’ll have to take my word for it because you’ll never know what the “original” story was. Or, maybe, someday, if you’re lucky…

Anyway, that bit is done and dusted and the second draft of Once in a Lifetime is out in the world for my alpha-readers to read and approve. At the moment, I have no idea when it’s gonna be actually out in the world, so I’m gonna stop making promises. However, I have some pretty cool things planned for when it’s ready to share with you, so keep your eyes peeled!

  • The Short Story Experience

October marked the first anniversary of this project of mine, which consisted of me writing a short story every month and posting it on the blog. I skipped a few months along the way, but I’ve managed to write and post nine shorts in the space of twelve months. That’s a lot for someone who never wrote a short story before! So, I had this idea of editing the ones I have written and write a few more to complete twelve and compile all of them in a book to celebrate one year of the project. And that’s what I started to do when I finished the Once edits. The only thing is… the first short I started to write turned out to be a lot longer than I expected and won’t work as a short at all. I ended up with 20k words of maybe the start of another book or novella that I hadn’t planned to write.

The good news is that it was what made me win NaNoWriMo. The bad news is I still have to write three shorts for the potential short story book before the end of the year.

  • Beautifully Unfinished

That’s the title of my next novel (and also a good way to describe my Nano plan). It was going to be the third part of my Nano strategy this year, but I didn’t have time to even think about it. Poor Matty and Charlie got pushed down the line one more time. I say one more time because this story was actually going to be the second book, but after WtNY I decided I wanted to write something shorter and Beautifully Unfinished covers over a decade of the characters’ lives. So, I came up with the idea for Once, which happens over a period of twelve days, and surely would be shorter, right? Well, yes, it was, before I decided to split it into two books and ended up with a story that’s longer than WtNY was because who really wants short books? Apparently not me!

I won’t wait until the next Nano to start this one, though. Maybe, like Once, just a part of it will help me reach the 50k goal. Or, maybe, by this time next year, its first draft will already be completed! And then I’ll start something completely new.

There’s only one thing I know for sure: Nano or no Nano, I’ll keep writing.
And I hope you’ll keep reading.

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