Monthly Archives: June 2012

Camp Nanowrimo Project — day 7

Current wordcount: complicated. The total is 37,275 (which I hope to get up to 38,000 before quitting for the night) but the total without the remaining deleted scenes is 33,226, which is still a more than respectable total for day 7. I’ve reintegrated all the deleted scenes I’m going to be able to, so the other ones are only being kept in to pad the wordcount. I’ve promised myself that I’ll take them out permanently when I reach 35k without them, which should hopefully happen sometime tomorrow.

I wanted to talk today a bit about writing communally. One of the things unique to NaNoWriMo and, to a lesser extent, Camp NaNoWriMo is the community surrounding the event. During November the forums are bustling with activity. Countless writers are all gathered together to commiserate, celebrate, help each other out, and just have fun together. It’s not like any other group atmosphere I’ve ever been part of, honestly. Not only are we all drawn to the same place through a common interest, but we also have a common goal and that goal gives us things to talk about and ways to connect. During June the forums have been less active, since there are fewer people doing the event, but there are still the usual dare and adoptable threads, as well as wordcount shoutouts and lots of commiseration and enthusiasm for those falling behind. More interesting, for me, are the chatrooms that have also sprung up. I discovered the joy of writing chatrooms several years ago, but had drifted away from the people in the one I used to frequent and so didn’t have one. That made doing word wards trickier, and left me with only my tumblr to use for random novel complaints or triumphs. Tumblr is an excellent format for that kind of thing, but it does lack the real time feedback of a chatroom. That feedback is, for me, the most important part of writing communities.

We tend to view writing as a solitary pursuit, something done alone at a computer or notebook, cup of tea on the desk and books scattered haphazardly everywhere. And many people, myself included, often do write this way. It’s odd to write with other people, even if they’re writing too. It feels awkward and distracting. Definitely it takes some getting used to. But I’ve found that learning to write while talking with other writers is among the most rewarding things in the world. Talking with like-minded people allows you to put your own struggles into perspective and reminds you that you’re not doing this alone. It’s much easier to encourage someone else than to encourage yourself and, in that same vein, it’s easier to accept someone else’s cheerleading than to try to do your own. Having a readily accessible community of writers gives you a support network which can double as an alternative to google. It’s surprising how many esoteric facts many writers have floating through their heads, regardless of their chosen genre.

It’s also far more fun. Writing, no matter how much you love your project, can be soul sucking. It’s especially hard at the speed that NaNoWriMo events require. Having other people to share the experience with helps ease that pain and keep the event fun. And really, we should all be doing this because we love to write. If the event isn’t fun, then there’s no point in putting yourself through it. Finding a community definitely helps to keep it fun, regardless of whether that community is a smallish chatroom or the entire NaNoWriMo forums. Writing communities are hugely underrated, but they really change the whole experience of writing for the better.


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Camp Nanowrimo Project — day four

So I apologize for missing yesterday. I really have no excuse save for not hitting my quota until far too late at night. I’ll try not to let that happen again.

You’ll notice that I’m not starting today’s report with a wordcount. That’s because I currently don’t know it. I spent most of today reworking the last seven thousand words or so of my novel (so everything I wrote yesterday, essentially) because I realized fairly early on today that it simply wasn’t working. Yes, you’re told not to edit during a writing month and to save it for editing, but I’ve decided this month that I’ll fix major structural problems as I go. Having to rework 7000 words is a pain, but it’s nowhere close to having to redo 60,000, as I would have had to do had I waited until the end. Not to mention that trying to keep writing without fixing the issues would have led to another day of painful, forced writing. I write for fun, and when it’s not fun I use it as a signal that something’s wrong.

So I spent most of today rethinking when my main female character would be introduced and essentially unintroduced her and cut all of her scenes. I’ve kept them in a separate document and will be reintegrating them when I get to that point in the new version, but for the moment they’re sitting nicely in a document of their own. Which means that I have no idea of how many words will be reintegrated because I’m not there yet. If you go by the new version I’ve dropped down to just under 20,000, but if you add in the scenes that I cut it puts me at 26.5k. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to log, if anything. Hopefully by the time I finish tonight I’ll have reintegrated everything, but at the speed it’s going that may not happen until tomorrow.

It’s interesting that, after so many years of essentially not having a dictatorial inner editor, this one has chosen to show its face now, during the very month when it should be kept away at all costs. I think it represents both my investment in the story and an evolution in the way that I view my writing. Living with a fellow writer whose inner editor is far more vocal than mine has meant that I’ve spent the past several months listening to them talk about various revisions of their current work in progress. I’ve heard characters added, removed, made more important, made less so. I’ve discussed with them different ways to write scenes or which scenes to move around. I’ve actually learned a lot more about editing from talking with my roommate than I have in any of my English classes. Apparently hearing about editing first hand has rubbed off on me more than I thought, because here I am, reworking an unfinished draft in a way I would never have done even last year.

Then again, this is definitely proof that this story is talking to me properly. It ground to a halt towards the end of the day yesterday and this morning flatly refused to keep moving unless I fixed the problems. I do love it when novels come alive on me like this, so I can’t be too upset with it. And definitely the prose I’m writing now was better than the stuff I was attempting to squeeze out yesterday or this morning. It’s just frustrating to make so little progress in terms of overall wordcount when I’ve invested so much of my time today in working on the project. Ah well, it’s all still part of writing and, really, when I’m ahead even for my adjusted goal, I think I can afford a day with little concrete progress in terms of wordcount.

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Camp Nanowrimo Project — day 2

Finished out the day with 18,110 words, once again all in Amberspun Spiderwebs. It’s not quite as many as I was hoping for, but it’s certainly respectable, especially for the 2nd. I had a hard time getting started this morning, but once I got myself in gear it went fairly easily. 15k was hard to cross, because it’s such a nice round number, but I powered through and kept going.

I ended up spending quite a bit of time developing a country that I never thought I would use more than briefly. But my characters were caught trespassing and taken to the local law enforcement office, so naturally I had to pause and figure out what that law enforcement office would be. This lead me down the worldbuilding path and at the end of it all I had the beginnings of a functional government and class system for this country. I never intended to actually use any of this information, but now I’m considering changing the timeline and keeping my main characters there for longer than a couple weeks, so I may end up using those details after all (and creating many more along the way). I know we’re told not to edit during nanowrimo, but I would rather take the time to edit now when the changes would only effect a chapter and a half, than do it later when I’d have to change the other 12. I haven’t yet decided whether or not to actually do this, so I’m going to sleep on it and look at the story again in the morning.

In other exciting news I have finally introduced a third named character. Yes, for nearly 17,000 words it was just my two boys interacting with a couple nameless side characters occasionally. To be fair, my viewpoint character did spent quite a bit of that time either sleeping or nearly dying of pneumonia, so he had an excuse for not being particularly social. I expect my other MMC met several people and learned their names, but we don’t get to be in his head so we’ll never know.

I realized as I took my worldbuilding break today that this story really is writing itself. Part of the reason why I like nano events so much is that they do let me take the backseat to the story out of necessity, but this story is going even more smoothly than past nano novels. Partly I suspect it’s because this story has actually existed in my head for several months and so I’ve had time to figure out the major plot holes and find ways around them. So it’s mostly smooth writing, which means that I can sit back and let the story happen as it will. But it also means that it was a good story idea. Part of the way I tell if an idea is any good or not is by seeing how easy it is to write. Last November I started a romance novel about a human and a fae, set against a backdrop of a series of grizzly murders. The concept was fine, but writing the story was somewhat akin to pulling teeth. I didn’t get more than 10,000 words or so and will not be returning to it, at least not in that form. The idea may be recycled into something else, but that version of the story is finished. I write for fun, and I don’t see the point in continuing when it consistently stops being fun.¬† But Amberspun Spiderwebs is definitely fun and it’s definitely not hard. I know I’ll hit walls sooner or later — it’s happened with every other project and it’s bound to happen with this one — but the ease with which I came up with these first 18,000 words is definitely a good sign. I have a good feeling about this one, I really do.

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Camp NaNoWriMo Project — day 1

So today was the first day of June, and therefore the first day of Camp Nanowrimo. Because I promised to blog Camp Nanowrimo (details here), here’s my first report:

I finished the day with just over 11,000 words, which is fewer than I was hoping for but still a respectable amount. All of them belonged to Amberspun Spiderwebs, which is my official Camp Nanowrimo project and the one that I’ll be blogging from now until the final edit, assuming there ever is one. The writing went really well. Like I was hoping, the characters developed minds of their own and took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting, which is always nice. Like I said last time, half the fun of writing for me is figuring out the plot along with the characters, so when they veer off in an unexpected direction it’s quite exciting. So far my two main characters bounce off of each other nicely, and I think my pacing isn’t too awful. Pacing tends to be a problem for me, so I’ve been trying to improve it for the past year or so. Currently I’m just about to end my second chapter and several things have happened to move the plot forward, so there is hope.

I’ve refined my overall Camp goal and it’s now to finish workable drafts of both Amberspun Spiderwebs and Skytouched. Workable, in this case, means proofread and without nonsensical tangents. I want something I’ll be able to start editing without having to go in and correct all the spelling mistakes and remove the extra chapters on the battle of Waterloo. I’ve rounded this to 130,000 words, though it may come out to a bit less since I’ve already started Skytouched. I’m thinking 80k for Amberspun Spiderwebs and 50k forSkytouched, but both are just ballpark figures. I’m not great at judging length, partly as a result of the aforementioned pacing problems.

Other than that not much to report. Expect these entries to be fairly short, since they’re really just progress reports. I’ll do my best to keep real content coming as well, though I don’t promise to be anything more than my usual sporadic self.

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