So I pasted what Word told me was 50,000 words and the robots counted and spat back the number 49,911. Ouch. And I had come to a pretty good line to end on, so I didn't want to drag it on beyond that. Fortunately, we live in an age where backing up and inserting things is a matter of a few points of the mouse. (How did people manage to write novels on typewriters? What did they do when you needed to add a whole new paragraph on page 98? I shudder to think of it.) So I took a few scenes that had been written in haste (given that was, well, nearly all of them, it didn't take much digging to find such) and added some marginally more detailed descriptions. I nudged the word count up, paragraph by paragraph, until it reached 49,995.
I added five words: "Good riddance to bad rubbish."
And thus I obtained my nifty winning certificate.
It was a shameless, wish-fulfilling, self-indulgent romp and I did enjoy writing it, even when I was pounding out words for hours at a stretch over Thanksgiving weekend and neglecting to shower. I am, however, neither egocentric enough nor masochistic enough to want to inflict the results on, well, anyone who isn't me.
So what was the point? The point was, I got to spend time with some really fun characters, try out some ideas and discover how nonstop bliss needs a little disruption to be worth writing about.
After this little vacation, I hope to return to my waiting manuscript and revise it with a new eye. I'm a little more aware of my own weaknesses as a writer after this particular effort, and perhaps I can work on strengthening those weak points in my revision, even if what I'm revising is completely different from what I just wrote.