Camp NaNoWriMo: Week 1

This is technically closer to the week 1.5 mark, but I was otherwise occupied on Friday. The new job has been fun but full on, and writing around it has been an adjustment.

That said, I gave it a good go and as of Day 10 I have written 6,275 words of 30,000. Which puts me at 3,725 words behind schedule. But I’ve also knitted half a beanie, watched most of Season 1 of Gilmore Girls and caught eleven Pokemon in that period, so it’s not like I’ve been completely slacking off.

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On to week 2!

Camp NaNoWriMo

I’ve never successfully completed NaNoWriMo, for many reasons. Well, actually, for two reasons. The first being that November has always turned out to be a ridiculously busy time of year for me, and the second being that I’m a terrible person with poor time management skills.

So this year I’m going to try Camp NaNo instead. Which is exactly the same thing, except in July and you can set your own goal rather than November’s set 50,000 words. July, as it turns out, is also looking to be ridiculously busy. I’m starting a new day job on the 4th (goodbye casual video game sales, hello full time movie, TV and comic tie-in merch), but hopefully this will be a clever way to kickstart new writing habits to fit around my new schedule.

So what am I writing? Good question!

I have four novels currently in various stages of first draft/development hell, but this month I’m trying to move forward with my YA dystopian science fiction project, which I’ve been periodically working on for several years now. It’s based on Subject, a short story I had published in Perehelion Magazine in 2014. I love the concept and the characters, but due to a lack of confidence and fear of the scope (my silly brain has decided it’s the first book of a trilogy), I’ve struggled to write it down. But that’s a terrible reason not to do something, so I’ve decided to charge ahead.

I’ll be aiming for 30k words (though ideally the finished book will be up around the 70k+ mark). This is quite an ambitious goal based on my past output – I’m ordinarily quite a slow writer, and I fuss over things instead of just letting the ideas flow – but what’s life without a terrifying challenge?

Wish me luck!

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NaNoWriMo: I’m Gonna Do It!

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When I was sixteen years old, I signed up for NaNoWriMo and wrote about two thousand words of a vampire thing. The following year I wanted to have another crack, but my Year 12 exams were around the same time, followed by Schoolies Week (the week Australian high school graduates descend on the nearest holiday town and unleash unsupervised, alcohol fuelled hell). Then there were five years of university, where I usually signed up for NaNo but then never followed through for whatever excuse was most convenient. And then I got a real job working full time in the Neighbours office, where the end of the year was too ridiculously busy to even contemplate cramming 50k words in on the side. And then I forgot about NaNo for two years, and remembered it again last year, while I was working on edits for my first real, actual, completed novel. Since I was so focused on that novel, I didn’t want to start anything new.

But THIS year.

THIS year, I’m doing it. I’ve been working on a YA scifi as most of you who read this blog or follow me on twitter will know, so I wasn’t planning on participating. But this week I looked at what I’d written of the first draft across three word documents (my brain is not very streamlined) and realised the story was wandering off in a wrong direction, the protagonist wasn’t compelling enough as she was, and that the second protagonist I’d been planning to introduce in book 2 needed to be in book 1 to balance the story and add to the overall stakes.

So while all those words I’ve already written are very useful in terms of world building and getting to know some characters and the overall thrust and shape of the story (no written words are ever wasted), they need to be scrapped and rewritten.

And, as fate would have it, November is right there. So I figure I may as well make this the year I give NaNoWriMo a proper crack with a proper novel I was going to write anyway. The final novel will be longer than 50k (The Edge of the Woods was 64k and I’d like to see if I can make it to at least 70k with this one), but I write quite slowly (seriously, its going to be embarrassing) so if I can get that much done in a month I’ll be very proud of myself.

So here you have it. I am a NaNoWriMo 2014 participant. My username is Cei if you’d like to be a writing buddy or follow my progress (I’ll also be posting weekly roundups here and daily counts on twitter) and feel free to shame me until I post that beautiful 50,000.

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Updates

Congratulations to everyone who won or even attempted NaNoWriMo this year! You’re all superstars. 

I’m back to focusing all my energy on self-editing my own novel, and the break has given me a bunch of new ideas for solutions and improvements. And this time I actually managed to write most of them down before they disappeared again. 

Soon(ish) I’ll be able to start shopping for editors (I believe in tidying your house before the cleaner comes. Metaphorically, anyway. I can’t afford a cleaner. Or a house) which I’m a little nervous and exited about. I have a couple of names to check out, but if you have any recommendations – particularly for anyone specialising in Young Adult – please let me know! 

And after that… well, I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

NaNoWriMo: That Thing I Don’t Do But Think Is Quite Good

There, that was a 50,000 word title, right?

Almost.

Anyway, it’s November! Which means it’s time for my facebook and twitter feeds to fill up with fellow writers and people I didn’t know ever had an interest in writing start enthusing/despairing over word counts and plot holes and writing music and acts and tense and how many POV characters can you have before everything gets weird and terrible (thanks to GRRM, the answer is now two hundred and forty-seven).

While the NaNo community has always been a pretty positive group, as NaNo gets more and more popular (I think 200,000+ people signed up this year? Yowza!) there comes the inevitable criticism: ‘Eurgh, look at these amateurs thinking they can just pump out and publish a novel in a month;’ ‘Isn’t there enough shit out there already;’ ‘Right, because just anybody can write a novel.’

Which, to those people, I say a resounding ‘Cheer up, killjoys.’

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NaNoWriMo is a fun idea that seeks to achieve what many of us fail to do: guilt people into finishing (or at least working hard on) a draft. And yes, many of those people are not ‘real’ writers in the sense that they seek it as a career, or get paid for it, or will even show anybody their work. That’s not the point. Writing is allowed to be a hobby.

It’s also social. For those of us who do consider ourselves ‘real’ writers, it’s nice to have company (happy internet company we can switch off without awkwardness. Score!). Even if you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo (which I never do, but not out of principle), it’s nice to see other people feeling all the ups and downs and excitement and stress of writing right there with you. It certainly makes me feel better.

So while I’m in the tenth year of my ‘Oh, you should do NaNo this year, oh, it’s November 6th,’ (though for a real reason this year, I’m trudging through the edit of my own first novel and I don’t want to split my focus), I wish all my fellow writers (‘real’ or not) the best of luck and the best of fun this month.

Happy writing, and happy November!