I'm only about 3,924 words behind. I got lucky. Sònia and Daniel had a bowling party to go to, and I got a nice three hour stretch to write in. So I'm almost entirely caught up. I'm feeling confident that I'm going to finish off my 50,000 work 1st draft of The Duke of Sunrises by the end of November for National Novel Writing Month.
The story is coming together nicely. Some parts of it are garbage (whaddya expect, I'm writing the whole thing in a month). But much of the manuscript up until now is surprisingly good. I have left off on any idea of trying to publish this year's work. But I'm getting a lot of benefit out of just putting the manuscript together. I think I've subconsciously been kicking around a lot of ideas that are finally making their way onto paper (well, screen).
The other thing that occurred to me is that my characters have become very real to me. I have no question about what a scene looks like when I'm setting it up. The trick is putting it on paper in such a way that another person would get it. I'm not actually sure anyone else will ever see this manuscript (no one has ever read last year's either). But I was surprised about how attached I've become to these people I've invented. This year I really have invented my characters-- last year was more about folks that I knew, who I threw into the story to act. But this year I needed some characters who fit the story a little better.
I guess all of this is a long way of saying that practice makes perfect. I think I'm actually getting better at the craft of writing. I have my doubts about ever doing this for the money. But I know for sure that I'll never get any better at writing without practice. This month I got a lot of practice.