At 10:47 pm, I reached my goal of 50,000 words!
Is my novel complete? Not by a long shot.
Have I built confidence in my ability to write what seems an exorbitant amount of words? Yes.
When I first joined NaNoWriMo, I was completely overwhelmed by the task, but by breaking it down into words per day, it seemed more doable, only 1, 667 words per day. What I found was that I had pretty much composed the story in my head, so on my first day of writing, I managed to spill over 9,000 words. My biggest block came when I realized, I'd only thought ahead a couple of days in the book. Once I finished writing about those days, I had a really bad block.
What I found most helpful to increase my word count wasn't padding at all, it was my overly competitive nature. The timed Word Wars at write-ins pretty much guaranteed me five hundred words in ten minutes. I found one of my fellow NaNos who was writing at approximately the same pace as I, and pushed myself to keep up with her. Going into the weekend, she had 14,000 words on me. After the Night of Writing Dangerously, I had closed the gap to just a few thousand. I caught up and had her by two hundred words this morning, but she rallied and jumped ahead by a few hundred words. My competitive nature jumped into overdrive and I cranked out the required number to beat her to 50,000. I just got my 50k posted just a couple of minutes before she posted hers. If we'd been in a horse race, it would have been a photo finish. (Thanks, Molly!).
So, I've "won", now what? Keep writing. It won't do any good to have a half-finished novel. Even if nothing ever comes of it, at least I can say I did it.
Here's the winning scene, the one that put me over my 50k.
Jake’s low growl wakes me out of a deep sleep about two o’clock in the morning. I have a hard time shushing him, but once I do, I hear what set him off. There’s something big on the deck snuffling around. Jake’s growling gets louder until it covers the sound of whatever is on the deck. I shush him again, climb out of bed and into my jeans and boots. I had hoped that whatever it was on the deck would lose interest and move on, but the snuffling is getting louder and I can hear things being moved around on the deck.
I’m pretty sure that it’s a bear on the deck, so I get my tactical shotgun from the closet and load it with 12 gauge rubber slugs. I shut Jake in the bedroom and move through the house in toward the kitchen, trying to get a lock on where the bear, or whatever it is, is on the deck. Remembering the BBQ chicken that we had at lunch, I’m pretty sure that he’s checking out the grill and if I go out the kitchen door, I should be in a good position to get him the hell of the porch. Just as I’m moving through the kitchen, Allie joins me with her own shotgun.
“I forgot to burn off the grill,” she whispers at me, “I’m so sorry.”
“No worries, we’ll just train him right off the bat. Stepping up on the deck hurts.” I whisper back and open up the kitchen door to step out on the porch.
I shoulder my shotgun and trigger the tactical light on the forend, lighting up an enormous black furry butt. The bear is sniffing around the grill with his back toward us and as he lifts up one enormous paw to take a swipe at it, I pull the trigger, shooting him square in the ass with a rubber slug. I rack a new round into the chamber as he jumps a mile and turns to face me. I shoot him in the shoulder while he’s turning and Allie nails him in the chest. He’s less than twenty feet from us, so I know that those rubber slugs hurt like hell and I’m hoping that they didn’t break his skin. I’m hoping to just cause a couple of deep bruises and instill in him that getting up on my deck is a very bad idea.
He doesn’t immediately move off of the deck, instead we have a stand-off of sorts; Allie and I with our shotguns shouldered and our fingers on the trigger versus six hundred pounds of post-hibernation black bear. If he wanted to, he could take us, but we are determined to teach him a lesson. It feels like our stand-off lasts hours, when in reality, it only lasts a few seconds, but each passing second is an eternity. Finally, he huffs at us and ambles off the deck, deciding that our chicken drippings aren’t worth the effort. We keep our shotguns shouldered and follow his movement across the yard until we’re sure he’s gone and not coming back.
I didn’t realize that I’d been holding my breath until I let it all out in a rush, relaxing the shotgun from my shoulder. I flick the safety on and turn to Allie, “Good shootin’, Tex.”
“Me? I can’t believe you shot him in the ass. I wish I’d had my camera. That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” She puts her safety on and doubles over laughing. “Only you would think to shoot a six hundred pound bear in the ass.”
“He was going to destroy our grill. It’s a good grill. He deserved a shot in the ass.”