That’s right! I’m sitting on 52,360 words and a completed first novel draft.
I didn’t keep with the 2k a day, but I also had days where I wrote 4 or 5k instead. Meaning I was ahead in some respects but at the same time fell severely behind. Then yesterday I realized I was a lot closer to the end than previously thought. My original word count goal was NaNoWriMo’s 75k. Thing is, the story was done, so I ended it.
Now that doesn’t mean, by far, that this draft is ready for publication. Are you kidding? Halfway through I changed the city (and the time era, for that fact). The main setting was supposed to be Houston, TX (because it’s what I know and can describe). Thing is, it eventually changed to the remains of Houston in what they call Hughes City. You don’t see that change until about 2/3 through the draft. And don’t get me started on names. Some of the characters flip around a bit, and some just stopped getting mentioned all together.
Most of it is adverb-ville, full of telly phrases and cliche dialogue. Why? Because I’m a fangirl and I think in cliches? Maybe. I think I’ll go with because I’m human and no one can make something beautiful in the first draft. Yes, that sounds much more dignified.
Anyway, if there’s anything I learned with this it’s to stop when the story feels done. Word count, ultimately, shouldn’t define when you end a draft.
So tell me, how do y’all write your first novel drafts? When do you know the draft is done? I’d love to hear from y’all.