I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a few times since 2003. I finished my first novel—clocking in at 85,000 words, it was completed well after the November 30th deadline and is thoroughly unpublishable—gave up on my second about three weeks in, logged a healthy 38,000 words on the third (it’s still sitting on my hard drive), and have nearly finished a draft of the fourth, which turned out to be a novella. The last one is part of the Commons universe introduced in Supernova, featuring a supporting character, but won’t see the (non) light of e-ink until the series is completed. And yes, it falls short of the 50,000 word mark.
So…this is where I find myself with this year’s novel. Er, novella. It’s going to end up around 30,000 words max. It’s just not a novel-length story.
(This one doesn’t work into the Commons, either. It features shapeshifters and clockwork eyeballs.)
It took a few tries for me to get it, but now I do: I can write novel-length fiction in a timely manner, and I did several times before Supernova was published. I can sit down at my computer and hammer out 4,000 words in one go and enjoy the hell out of it while I do. I cannot, however, write a short novel in 30 days. It burns me out, it pisses me off, and then I end up returning to a project that isn’t irritating me. I can meet self-imposed deadlines without any problems except for that pesky word count issue.
Which is why I’m not dragging out Manor House to a bloated 50,000 words. There’s still something to be said for writing a novella in 30 days. I’m not 100% sure on what I’m going to do with the final manuscript (self-publish or submit it to e-pubs?). There’s only so much filler I can write (read: none) before I toss aside the whole project. Books should only be as long as they need to be; most people can probably name at least one or two books where there seemed to have extra pages that didn’t really need to be there.
So, I’ve returned to writing the first draft of Celestial Chaos, where I’m nearing the 50,000 word mark, in between working on Manor House and reading books that aren’t awful.