My Writing

The Magic Of Christmas: First Draft Completed

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I did it!

At the beginning of November, I set out to complete NaNoWriMo. Write 50,000 words in a month. Complete a first draft of a novel.


Not quite. But I quickly found myself in a routine, and the ideas generally kept flowing. I wrote and I wrote, morning and evening, in bed at times, on trains at others. I had a plan, and I stuck to it. Possibly the most pleasing thing about this all is the following image:

NaNoWriMo Word Count Progress
NaNoWriMo Word Count Progress

I was always ahead of schedule. I wrote every single day. Only two days in the month did I update my word count having achieved under 1667 words. (1667 was the average per day that I needed to get to 50K on time.)

In doing this, I’ve realised that I can write an entire novel. Even with a very vague plan. It is not so impossibly daunting that I will hide away from it. My other ideas suddenly seem feasible again, when, to be honest, a couple of weeks previously I was starting to have major doubts about them. I know I can structure my days to work for me, to allow me to write when my creativity is in full flow.

One of the most exciting things about NaNoWriMo is that I actually enjoyed the story I was writing. I wanted to find out what was happening next, and even though I knew how it would end, I was curious about how my fingers typing away on the keyboard would make it happen. There are definitely bits I need to change. I need to re-write huge amounts of dialogue. But the general plot? I’m pleased with it.

About halfway through, I realised that one of the characters I had planned to introduce – Sir Geoffrey Huffington – would no longer fit into where I was going. This was a shame, as he was someone I was looking forward to writing about. But my mind worked away as I slept the following night and I scribbled notes down on paper as I awoke at 3am with a sudden plan for a sequel. The following morning, after waking up properly, I developed these further. So now, for next November, I have a plan. ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. The follow-up. My commitment to come back to NaNoWriMo again. To tell the next part of the story, and to finally bring Sir Geoffrey into the world. I’ve sown the seeds for this tale within the first part. The final scene directly sets it up. Another Christmas, another adventure for George Thomas. More snow, more reindeer, and more Father Christmas.

In the meantime, I’m going to edit my draft, and polish it up. I’ve got another short story competition coming up, that I have an idea for, which I will work on over Christmas.  And I’m going to resume writing Exile, which I had become daunted by. I know now that I can do it.

NaNoWriMo has changed me.  And I’m delighted.


Chris Phethean is a writer and blogger. He is working on a range of sci-fi, fantasy and adventure stories, and dreams of writing interactive narratives for video games. Find him on and Twitter.


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