It is 12:42 AM on Sunday, November 27th, and I am proud to announce that I have officially won National Novel Writing Month 2011!
It’s been a long month, but I’m happy to say that it’s finally over and that I accomplished what I set out to do. In the end, my final word count was 50,148 words. When I went to validate my word count, it actually gave me about a thousand extra words, mainly because it counted all the repeated headers on every page and the titles to chapters that hadn’t been written yet. I actually knew it would do this going in, but I wanted to do it the right way and not cheat with a bunch of filler, so those 50k words are absolutely legit.
Now, that’s the good news. The bad news is, according to my outline, I’m less than halfway done with this novel. So while I did technically win NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words in a month (27 days, actually, but let’s not split hairs), I did not write a full novel in that month’s time. Honestly though, that’s fine with me. It’s good to know that I still have more to look forward to, and it’s certainly a heck of a start, so I can’t complain too much. I think before I tackle the rest of it though, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off of writing. I need a break. Getting some time to actually read again will be a welcome change.
How about a final excerpt? In celebration of the win, I offer you an entire scene from Chapter Eight. As usual, rough draft, go easy on me, blah blah blah…
The only sound Echo could hear was the whiz of his arrows cutting through the air and striking the thin trunk of a lone cottonwood tree. He preferred to practice at night when the sole illumination source was the residual light from the Summit. The arrows he had already fired stuck out of the tree in a perfect vertical line, each spaced a precise ten centimeters from the one above it. He slotted another arrow and started to pull it back when he heard movement through the grass behind him. Echo listened for a long moment, gauging the interlopers position, then turned and prepared to fire.
“You really shouldn’t be out here after what happened last night.” Liam strolled toward Echo, who let out a deep breath and lowered his bow.
“That’s a good way to get a hole in your skull, mate,” Echo said. He quivered his arrow and walked over to the tree to gather the others. “You should know better than to sneak up on me like that.”
“From the look of it, I wasn’t doing much sneaking. Then again, I never was one to beat around the bush.” Liam stuffed his hands into the pockets of his thick overcoat. “You need to come back inside.”
“Bugger that, I’ll do as I bloody please.” One by one, he yanked the arrows out of the tree trunk.
“I know,” Liam said, “you always have. Still, I would hope you have enough common sense to realize that hanging out around here is pointless. They aren’t coming back, not tonight anyway.”
“That right? And how would you know that, Mr. Chairman?”
“Call it a gut feeling,” Liam turned around to face the Summit, his profile emanating a soft glow from the lights of the city. “She looks like she’s dying, doesn’t she?”
“The Summit,” Liam said. “It’s like the life has drained out of her. I guess that, in a way, it has. I’d give anything to go back to last night and stop those beasts.”
“I learned a long time ago not to dwell on the past,” Echo said, brushing the tips of his fingers across the burn scar on his cheek. “It will drive you insane eventually. Believe me, I know.”
Liam turned back around to face Echo. “Do you trust him?”
“Who? The walker?” Liam nodded. “No, I don’t. Then again, that’s not saying much. I don’t trust you either.”
“Ben is convinced that he had something to do with the attack last night.”
“Hmm.” Echo slung the bow across his back. “I don’t know, it doesn’t feel right to me. There are some ghosts in his past, certainly, but he hates the Giants as much as we do. I think he would rather die than help them. On that note, believe me when I say that killing that boy would be no easy task. When he first came here I was skeptical of his story. How could anyone go through that and survive? Now though, I understand. I’ve trained with him every day, and even in the short time he’s been here, his abilities and dexterity have increased beyond my wildest expectations. I no longer wonder how he survived the Giants; now I’m more curious how the Giants survived him.”
“You’re that confident?” Liam asked.
“Echo, I hope you understand how much we have riding on this. If Micah isn’t ready…”
“At this point, I don’t think it matters whether he’s ready or not. We need him.”
Liam cleared his throat. “Alright then. We’ll see you off in the morning. Just remember, there are other enemies out there besides the Giants. I want to believe in the walker as much as you do, but he is cut from a different cloth than you and me. You need to be prepared for anything.”
Echo smiled. “Would you expect anything else?”
Last, but certainly not least, I want to give a huge thanks to Jennifer and Claire. I haven’t been too available for them during this month, and despite that they’ve been nothing but supportive. When I needed to be left alone, they did so, and when I needed encouragement, they gave it to me. I couldn’t have done it without them. Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to both of you in December! Love you!
That’s all for now. Expect your normally sporadic and random updates to resume in a week or so. Until then, fine readers.