On October 13 I started My Own NaNo. My goal was to jump start a writing project after a long break and finish a first draft. I hadn't really considered a date for the deadline; however, National Novel Writing Month uses a deadline of - obviously - a month, so my deadline for a finished first draft should be November 10.
I think I'm gonna make it!
I'm in the final chapters of my first draft. I've written a total of 51,464 words and figure I'll have another few thousand before I'm done.
This novel actually started out as a 20,000 word novella. Of that novella, I have used the same names for the hero and heroine, the same setting, some of the original set-up and approximate two paragraphs of text.
Yep, tossed out most of the novella and started fresh. There were major changes to the plot and the heroine's situation and background so rather than struggle to use what I'd already written, it was easier to just forget it and write fresh material.
What happens after the first draft is done?
I tear it apart, cut it down, revise and rewrite, adding new material as necessary. I expect to lose at least 10,000 words from the first draft and probably a lot more.
On the plus side, I've figured out the basic emotional arc of the main characters, as well as their backstories. I've decided on the basic plot - what happens to who, if not precisely the best order. I know which secondary characters are more important than others, and created some that come in at the end that are going to have to be added earlier. I've discovered what I need to spend time researching, and what I don't.
All of this means I still have a whole lot of work to do. But I'm not feeling my way in the dark anymore. I have lighting and a path to follow, even if the journey is far from over.