By ALYSSA MURPHY
It's hard to believe, but National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo - is all over.
This column inspired me to finish early because I did not want to leave you faithful readers hanging about how I did.
I worked hard Thanksgiving weekend and finished with 50,066 words on Nov. 25. Yay!
That means while you wait to find out if I survived this month, I will be lounging around with Pinterest, not thinking about NaNoWriMo. In fact, I don't plan to think about my novel, "Capeless," until January, when I plan to go back and start editing. I already have one new year's resolution: edit it and send it out to publishers in 2013.
It's a big goal, but for the first time, I still love my novel after I've finished writing it.
What surprised me the most this month is how much my novel changed from its inception.
Yet even though many things changed, I'm glad I finally tried plotting. It certainly helped me. Whenever I had a scene planned, it made writing it so much easier. I even looked forward to it!
It's been a difficult month, as some of you know. There were days I never thought I would finish. There were days I did not see the point to even trying to finish.
Actually, be thankful you missed the last few days of my writing when I was whining on Facebook and Twitter about how the dramatic conflict ended way too soon and I had nothing else to write about.
For every challenge, however, I found a way to overcome it. I refuse to take full credit for it though, because behind every finished novel are people who encouraged the writer.
I certainly have mine, too.
I never could have finished it without the awesome regional people on NaNoWriMo. I did not get to attend many of the get-togethers because I was busy with work, but the ones I attended really helped me. My friends on Facebook who encouraged me along the way every time I posted a new obstacle - faced and overcome - boosted my self-esteem and helped me finish.
The fellow NaNoWriMo people on Twitter who kept telling me I could do it made me believe I could.
And you, faithful readers, you really helped me. There are several people who read my columns (which always surprises me, I thought I was just rambling for no reason) that asked about my progress. Sometimes I was embarrassed when you did because I had no good news to report, but I'm so glad you did. Thank you for caring.
So what's next?
Well, I have a new challenge coming up for the month of December that does not involve my novel at all because I need to take a step back.
Then, in January, as I mentioned, I will go back and start editing. It's going to be a big challenge, but I look forward to it.
Throughout the year, there are many NaNoWriMo activities, so if my columns inspired you: write!
In April, there's Script Frenzy, for anyone who has ever wanted to write a script for a play, a movie or a musical. The goal for that is 100 pages in a month. I tried this year and failed horribly.
In June and August, there's Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the same as NaNoWriMo, except it takes place in June and August, which might be easier for people as November can be a really crazy month!
Then, of course, in November, there's NaNoWriMo. I hope you try it sometime next year. I'll be there encouraging you, if you do!
And before I sign off on this last column: how did my fellow regionals fare? Unfortunately, I posted on the website for people to update me and most didn't.
But Kyra did. Kyra also wrote about superheroes, like I did. In her story, AJ Kyle grew up surrounded by superheroes, trying to control her ability to generate fire and deal with the expectations of her powered parents. Years after turning her back on the caped community, AJ finds herself being pulled back by a vengeful villain.
She hit her 50,000 words on Nov. 19. Wow!
"The only problem is that the story didn't finish with my word count," Kyra wrote on the board.
She continued writing the story and she thinks by the end, she'll have a novel of about 60,000 words or more.
"Because of this, the big challenge for me is continuing to write even when my NaNo instincts say I don't have to," she wrote. "There is a little piece of my mind that is screaming 'You've done it, now stop!' and it is kind of hard to ignore sometimes. However, the biggest reward was hitting that 50K mark early and being able to glance back and realize that my character has grown."
Awesome job, Kyra. I look forward to reading it one day. And who knows? Maybe one day you readers will get to read my novel. It's a big dream, but if you don't dream big, you'll never achieve big.