I was over two thirds of the way through the month, but not as far along on the word count. I had been doing a pretty good job at clawing my way back toward that purple line over the past five days, but as my text on the 22nd implied, I was hitting another stall point where doubt and terrible writing were creeping in.
I wrote nothing on the 24th, and very little on the 25th. I was bumping up against the turning point in the novel. Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly know what that turning point was going to be. I was stalling, not sure where to go. Five days until the deadline, 16,500 words to go.
The character in my book was riding his bike down the west coast. He was physically moving down the road as the story unfolded, and he had reached a nice stopping point. Something needed to happen. I was running out of time and real estate. So I plunged ahead.
Over the next few days, I wrote furiously. The combination of the approaching deadline and my own discovery about where the story was leading spurred me on. The story started to move, and the words came more easily. It certainly did not “write itself” as I have heard some people describe it, but in a way I was more detached and excited to see how it would turn out.
Over the final five days, I wrote those 16,500 words, plus a few more. At noon on November 30th, 2010, I had 50,213 words toward my first novel. I had made it. Through all the stalling and all the days where I didn’t write, I had crossed the finish line with twelve hours to spare.
The good news/bad news? I’m wasn’t done. When I was stalled at 33,000 words, I didn’t think I had enough left to say to make it to the 50,000 word mark. But the turning point ended up being longer than expected, so I have a few more chapters to go until I reach “The End”.
I took a much needed break for a day or two, but was back at it after a couple of days. On December 12th, I had 9,000 more words and the first draft of my first novel.
My first novel. Hard to believe.
But the work and fun were just beginning.