Plugging away on an unwitting NaNoWriMo novel

I’ve written a novel in less than a month on at least four occasions, but I’ve never done it in November, so I suppose I’ve never done national novel-writing month. In many ways, November seems an odd choice for this activity, since it’s so interrupted by Thanksgiving. Seems like January would be better: people could get all fired up by their New Year’s resolutions and give it a go. But anyway, this month I started a novel at around November 1st and now I’m some 35k into it. I plan on finishing sometime next week (if all goes well). Since it’s a middle grade fantasy novel, it will be finished and complete and salable at around 50-55k words, so woohoo, that’d count.

It’ll probably fall apart, though. This is the novel I’ve been outlining on tiny slips of paper. I still have the whole deck of cards, and I still constantly lay them out and pluck out the cards that don’t make sense and rewrite them. So far it’s pretty good. I feel much more in control of the book.

This is also a transition that I recently made with short stories. I no longer write purely on instinct–aiming blindly for some ending that I could barely imagine. No I figure out exactly what I wanted them to say and what the themes and character arc would be. That’s harder to do for a novel, but potentially more rewarding, since scrapping a draft and rewriting it can be kind of punishing.