It depends on what you mean by ‘completed’

This morning I wrote ‘The End’ on my NaNoWriMo novel ‘The Lion and Unicorn Quest’, validated the word count online and started gloating everywhere about having completed it. However the truth is more complicated than that. I have indeed completed the November writing challenge with a few days to go, and I’ve reached the end of the plot in the sense that I’ve written the final chapter that I always meant to write. I even had a title ready for that last chapter, ‘Dancing on the Fairway’. I originally thought of using that for the novel title, but I thought it might sound as if it was a novel about golf, which it certainly isn’t.

To say the novel is complete would be a terrible exaggeration. This is always true of novels written for NaNoWriMo but it’s particularly true in this case, since I know I only have a sort of skeleton of the novel complete, and even saying that I can see some of the fingers and toes may need to be rearranged, and possibly even the ribs and collar-bone. Not only is there quite a lot of description to add in – something I tend to ignore where possible, and indeed to skim over in other people’s novels – but there are a few places where the pieces of the plot don’t quite fit together, as if there is a piece missing or I’ve tried to jam the wrong shape into the gap. Then of course there is the ruthless extermination of typos and words that I always over-use, and the changing round of sentences where the words and often the clauses have unaccountably got into the wrong order. This is a matter of opinion and may be contentious, but I can’t imagine why anyone would out-source any of these editing tasks to someone else. I can just about envisage asking someone else to carry out the final proof-read, but certainly not the plot/content edit, which can sometimes completely change the story or at least send it in a different direction for a while.

Anyway, that was all techie writers’ stuff. I expect what readers of this blog really want to know is, did I get the pantomime sign with the odd socks finished? Well again, it isn’t exactly completed. I did it the wrong way the first time, and although I managed to get it mostly sorted out on Thursday evening, I have to go back today to trace round the sock-letters with black marker pen just to make sure everyone in the audience understands that they’re letters and not just socks, and then re-paint the places in between where I went wild with the glue spray. Pictures may follow.

As a change from writing I also spent some time trying to transform a cat collar into a glittering diamante necklace. Not, I hasten to add, because I’m planning to decorate the cats for Christmas – I can’t imagine any of them standing still for long enough to let me do this – but because there’s a toy panda involved in the pantomime and he has to have a necklace. Don’t ask. Again, pictures may follow.

NaNoWriMo winner

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3 responses to “It depends on what you mean by ‘completed’

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