A funny thing happened during NaNoWriMo

I’ve written a draft in 30 days before, so when I signed up for NaNoWriMo I figured it would be a piece of cake. Well, somewhere around week three I hit a wall and dropped out of the race. But then a funny thing happened. Call it determination, or blind ambition, or sour grapes, but I picked it up a few days after I called it quits and my heroine showed up for the writing session.

The whole time I’d been writing as the narrator in close third person, but here was my heroine with her own voice, and God bless her she was hysterical. I took steno while she told me everything that was happening. In a couple of days I caught up to the daily goal, and yesterday, my winner’s badge came flying overhead when I put in my word count for the day. I didn’t even realize I had passed 50k. And then you know what happened? She didn’t shut up. This morning while I was washing my hair, she started to tell me about a friend of hers. Turns out he was already in my version, but in hers, he’s more important. And the people that I thought were important when I was narrating now barely factor in at all. They’re there, some of them now have different names, but she decided to keep them. Maybe she felt a little pity for me and all that uphill slogging I did the first three weeks.

Honestly, I’m slightly baffled. I had been fighting with this story  since November 1st, and now that it’s over, the story is flowing out of me, easy peasy.

Now, I KNOW that the characters are supposed to drive the story. And I know that I can’t drag a novel along on its ears, thrashing behind me in protest. I know all these things, but because I was writing for NaNo and because I wanted to win, all those things that I know went through the window. Should I have waited for my heroine to show up when she was ready? Or was it pushing myself to write the story down, no matter how hard it was, that forced her to show up in my head and start making corrections because she was so fed up of what a bad job I was doing at telling her tale?

Guys, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this: I am. Totally. Doing this. Again.

See you next year, Wrimos!