15k in May – Final Update

15k in May . . . It's all over now.
15k in May . . . It’s all over now.

Ok . . . excuse me while I just slap on a fake smile and put some positive spin on this . . .  ahem . . . there we go. That’s better.

So, 15k in May is over and the big question on everyone’s lips (ok, just the select few who are interested) is did I reach my word target? The answer is no, but I did make a lot of progress on my novel, writing around 12,000 words over the month. Better still, I highlighted some major issues with the denouement of the book and now have a much better idea of what I need to do to fix it.

I began brightly enough, throwing down words with reckless abandon, despite the fact that my outline chapter plan ran out several thousand words ago – and therein lies the problem. This novel is very heavily plotted, which is fine, but does mean that I should have really taken the time to properly devise how I was going to satisfyingly bring it all together for the climax of the story. Over the last few days of the challenge I ground to a halt, realising I had written myself further in to a corner and limited my possible outcomes to outlandish coincidences and conceits that will jar with the rest of the work.

All of this means I have to scoot back a few thousand words, to where I believe the problem started, and take some time to adequately weave everything together. I have begun to do this – with 500 words of notes written on the last day of the challenge – but it will be a work in progress over the coming weeks and months.

This is my first attempt at a novel and, like most forms of writing, it is a learning experience and a chance to create something I am proud of. Clutching this positive thought to my chest, like a childhood teddy-bear, I will continue the journey and keep you abreast of my progress. I am over 70,000 words in to the project and not about to give up so easily!

In the spirit of full disclosure, here are my final daily word counts for the challenge:

May 23rd – ZERO

May 24th – ZERO

May 25th – ZERO

May 26th – ZERO

May 27th – ZERO

May 28th – 663

May 29th – ZERO

May 30th – ZERO

May 31st – 500 (notes)


Although I didn’t reach the target, it was a fun exercise and a great excuse to do more work on the book. It also gave me the opportunity to meet and learn from lots of other great writers, as listed in my previous post here. Thanks to everyone who took part in or supported the challenge. See you for 15k in May 2014?


Author: Wayne

12 thoughts on “15k in May – Final Update

  1. You did good! Nothing worth having is ever easy is it? The challenge was great to do because you wrote another 12k on your WIP, and you learnt what you need to do next…How good is that?
    All you need to do now is rest, regroup and set off again. ?

    It was good to have ‘goal buddies’ alongside, like yourself, I didn’t reach the 15k, which worried me at first, until I realised it was okay, because I made progress I wouldn’t have made had I not done 15kinmay.

    Thank you for your support, it was our first attempt, and all decided very last minute on the back of a month of blogging every day!

    I think we deserve a rest. ?

    1. Thanks Maria – and for your support during challenge. To be honest, I had forgotten that we did it straight after the A-Z Challenge! We must be crazy! Good fun though.

    1. Thanks a million, Misha. Yes, I don’t feel too down about it – it got me back in to the novel and brought the problems in to sharper focus. My main gripe was that I wanted to stick to my ‘just keep going until the end’ approach which seemed to work so well for the rest of the first draft. I now know that only worked so well because I had some kind of outline.

  2. I’ve been waiting to hear how you did. 🙂 I had a similar issue, though I’m going to have to go back to the beginning to fix mine! (Though only changing a few issues, so not major).

    12k is still a MAJOR accomplishment, and having a 70k manuscript is great. I’m sure you can finish it.

  3. I’m sorry that you had a rough week and didn’t hit your target for the month, but 12,000 words is still a good haul. That’s an eighth of most Fantasy novels on the market. And that’s only on top of what you already had, and we know you’re close to the close of the draft!

    And that you’re identifying a problem in your process, at least for this novel, may seriously help you in all your future endeavors. I love Pixar’s advice to come up with a good payoff for the premise, and then plot everything towards it. Given that this is your first whack at a novel, I think you’re doing admirably.

    1. Hi John – thanks for the supportive comments. Yes, like any writing, novel or otherwise, each time we sit down I think we learn something new. As long as we keep moving forward and improving its all good.

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