Camp NaNo 2016 – The End

Although I haven’t written the fated words to mark the end of my story, Camp NaNo 2016 is over for me.

On Tuesday 26th July at 23:58 I validated my 25000 words commitment and earned myself the ‘Camp Nano 2016 Winner’ badge.

I could have carried on writing but I felt that it was better for me to validate now as I want to be able to enjoy the rest of my holiday without worrying about wordcount.

It was a much more successful experience than the one last year where I completely failed to even reached 10K.

I did my first Camp in 2014 where I gave myself the target of 20K and succeeded. Last year, I had raised the bar to 22K but my mind wasn’t in it.

I am pleased with my 25K and hoping that it bodes well for attempting my 3rd NaNoWriMo in November as so far, I haven’t been able to finish.

 

Camp NaNo 2016 recap

I was able to write 8 chronological chapters quite easily, then I hit a slump and a period of lackluster inspiration…I reverted to my book ‘No plot, No problem’ and followed the advice to jump ahead and wrote a scene I wanted to write which I felt should be much later.

I got back on track.

Then I wasn’t sure how to tie it in with what was coming next so I used the technique again. I now have 3 scenes which are much further in the story but not at the end.

I don’t know yet how I want my story to end although I have decided to kill off one of my darlings.

I will have to do some cutting and slashing at the beginning as the story takes too long to develop and the dead body we discovered in the first scene has kind of been forgotten which doesn’t make it such a great opening scene anymore.

Whilst I was on holiday I did most of my writing long hand as I didn’t always have my laptop with me and it was easier to sneak in a session whilst the kids were drawing than if I pulled the laptop out. I would then type it up first thing in the morning whilst they slept in or last thing at night when everybody gone to bed. I found that way that I would add some details to the scenes that I couldn’t think of when writing long hand. It was hard not to edit though as the instinct was to modify as I typed.

I was worried that I would get bored of the story as so far it’s always how it’s happened before but I still want to complete the story. I may write short paragraphs on the scenes I want to see happen till the end and then pad them up at editing.

 

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2016: Surviving Week 1

We are well into Week 2 now but here is a quick update on how my first week went.

To recap, I have given myself the target of 25K words to be reached by 30th July (I have taken the 31st out). So my daily wordcount target is roughly 834.

That means that by Day 12 (today), I should be at 10,008 words…don’t panic, this is the extent of my mathematical abilities!
I am happy to report that as of last night I have racked up a wordcount total of 11,310! Let’s hear a ‘hell yeah’ from the back of the room.

I have had a couple of nights off too. One because I went to a podcast recording – well worth it ; and the other, because I was too tired to get my brain to focus.

In the past, my biggest hurdle has been to go past Chapter 3 which is basically when you start moving out of the setting up and into the story. I was always stuck because I never really had an idea of what I wanted my main character (MC) to do and it would panic me and I get myself distracted by another newer and shinier idea and would run with that instead, thus starting a new cycle of Chapter 1 to 3.
I am not even exaggerating. If I check my backlog of ‘started’ stories since I got back into writing (2014), I have 35 stories started where I stopped on or before Chapter 3 and not counting the one I am doing now, I have 1 story where I reached Chapter 5.
And I am not counting stories that I started on notebooks and didn’t bother typing up.
Do you know how many completed story I have? 0
Yep, you read right. Out of all those stories started not a single one went to completion.
That’s just too sad and upsetting.

This latest story, I have to finish. Even if I got an idea for a new story on my way to a shopping trip at the weekend. I am full of ideas. I am a great starter. Finishing though, is another story.

So I am now halfway through to Week 2 and it is believed to be the hardest week as the excitement of starting a story is wearing off and ideas are drying out and the burden of keeping a day job and writing in your spare time start taking its toll.
I am quite lucky that although work has been unusually busy (of course), I live alone and I haven’t had much of a social life  lately, so I don’t get any distractions once I can pry myself away from Netflix.
Because of that and thanks to the regular check ins  with my cabin mates, I am ahead of target.
I can’t recommend this enough by the way: if you have the opportunity to create a cabin with people in the same time zone or people you have been in contact with before, then do it. It’s great to have a sounding board and people who are keen to do virtual write-ins.

I am halfway through Chapter 5 and although I know there is probably a lot of unnecessary dialogue, I am happy things are moving along.
The one thing I have failed is to introduce one of the other secondary cast members, which I should have done by now…Editing is going to be fun.

Hope you guys are enjoying the experience and that you are also on target.

Until next time…Keep Writing!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 2 – So far So good

I am not going to bore you with a blow by blow of each of my writing days but I will try to keep some updates on the highs and lows.

Week one tends to be one of high as you are pump, it’s all new and you have potentially been thinking about this for a while so you have tons of ideas you are ready to commit to page.

I never know if I should plan or pants. In my real life, planning is essential but at the same time, I have to be able to adapt to last minute request so a degree of pantsing is necessary. I have mild OCD – nothing clinical – I like to have my books, DVDs and CDs (yes I still have a few of those) sorted in alphabetical order and I hate it when someone tries to put things back on the shelf. They always put it back wrong…and…no, this is not about my organisational hang ups. Moving on. Sorry.
I did some planning for the past few months: I had a backstory, a main character and a couple of secondary characters. I had some ideas of what was the plot but that was quite loose and was the thing that was worrying me the most.
I had a setting too. Contrary to the advice I found on books and online, I had chosen to base my story in San Francisco. I have been there once and although I was a bit disappointed by it (I had really high expectations on it and we entered through the worst part of the city after having spent a few days in the pretty city of Santa Barbara), I still think it’s a cool Californian setting.

All of that went out of the window on Day 1. I kept my main character’s name and some qualities but everything else has changed. The story is now based in London (write what you know) and all the other secondary characters are different and so is the backstory. But the biggest change in the story is the opening scene: my MC finds a dead body.

I wasn’t planning on writing a mystery but there you go.

My only advice for those who want to participate (if you haven’t already signed up, do it now!) is to try to find a good cabin. Over the past years I just let myself be allocated a random cabin and I often found myself with people in different time zones. It’s nice to have diversity but not ideal when you want to share support.
This year, as I belong the NaNoWriMo London Facebook group, we managed to coordinate ourselves our own cabin and we have done our first virtual write-in using Skype and that was really great as you share some of your frustrations and doubt but also set writing sprints which focuses your writing.

At the end of Day 2 I had reached 2,527 words which is over my target (yay). Of course this is the beginning and I am always prolific until Chapter 3…

I have planned to do a session later today and hopefully I will be disciplined enough to do a daily session.

Good luck everyone…see you on the other side.