When I wrote my NaNoWriMo novel in November, I didn’t want it to end because I was enjoying it so much, so I decided to keep on writing it every day in 500-word segments. I felt like the characters had a lot more to say than they could possibly say in just the month of November alone.
So for the past month or so I’ve continued along with those characters and settings, writing the story more or less as a soap opera, with different scenarios and dramatic incidents happening.
Then I realized when the entire story ought to end. It wouldn’t make sense to have the story continue past that point, since it seemed so final when I was thinking about it. So now what I’m planning to do is stop moving forward with writing the story. I’m going to look at what I have written and I’m going to organize it so that the story builds up toward that end point. I’m going to be cutting out quite a few characters and getting rid of some useless scenes. In other words, I’m going to revise much earlier than I had intended to.
Sometimes it’s necessary to stop what you’re doing and go back, retool and revise, then start again. It might seem counterproductive since you’re not moving ahead, but there’s no sense in hacking through the foliage at a dead end when you could double back and find the hidden path you hadn’t taken before. (Weird analogy, I know!)