The Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC) is NaNoWriMo for the Southern Hemisphere. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the 30 days of June – and to have fun, of course!
Final Word Count: 53,730 words
Rating: I MADE IT! 50k and a finished draft. BOOYAH.
So, seeing as it’s the last day of SoCNoC I thought I might as well make one last post about it and consider the things I have learned from this month’s triumph.
I will be completely honest with you – last year, I won NaNoWriMo with an excess of 200,000 words. I kind of avoided mentioning that this month as I didn’t want to brag (or psych myself out), but when I came to SoCNoC I was not so much worried about managing the quantity as maintaining interest in the story, keeping myself motivated, and hanging in there until I reached 50k. June has not been a great month for me in the past, and this year I’ve had postgraduate study as well as life in general to cope with, so it was actually a struggle to keep going.
As those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will no doubt recall, my main goal for this year is to finish what I start. Consistency, dedication, commitment, call it what you like but it’s a quality I possess only intermittently, and have never before applied to writing in any serious way. That all changed this year with the introduction of my 1k-a-day habit, and I think my completion of this draft in spite of the obstacles has really highlighted how far I’ve come. In 2009, I made it only a week or so before I gave up in disgust and never touched the story again. This year, I not only refused to give in even when I hated it, but I also actually finished the draft and am thinking about starting on the second. What a difference!
I also found myself more able to regard my work objectively. Instead of getting caught up in worrying about individual words and phrases, I was more interested in the structure, what things fit together and what things didn’t. I ended up with a number of ideas for how it could be improved, and felt considerably less despondent about the whole thing than I have in previous years.
Consequently, I decided to share a small teaser/excerpt, mildly edited:
Cathryn called Miriam the next morning.
“I’m a lunatic,” she said. “I did it. I just sat down and told him that I wanted a divorce. I’m so stupid. I’ve never done anything like this.”
“Slow down,” Miriam said. “What are you talking about? You’re getting divorced?”
Taking a long, deep breath, Cathy pulled herself together.
“Yes. And it’s been a long time coming.”
There was silence on the phone.
“I’m sorry. I’m still here. I just – I don’t know what to say. Congratulations seems kind of inappropriate.”
Cathy laughed. Then she was appalled at herself. She sat down at the kitchen table and stared out the French doors into the garden, thinking of Caleb’s face at the dinner table the night before, thinking of her two boys growing up in this house, and thinking of the stilling, stifling weight of her husband’s hand as he had reached out to stop her nervous twitching. She expelled a huge lungful of air in a single gust.
“It had to be done,” she said.
Congratulations to everyone else who made it to 50k and to those who participated! It’s been a great month and I’ve enjoyed sharing the experience with you all.