Camp Nanowrimo Strikes Back
Camp Nanowrimo is an extension of the popular National Novel Writing Month, where participants join other writers to try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Just in case it isn’t immediately clear, 50,000 words in a month is a lot. Last year I took a swing and managed 30k towards my target. This year I’m going to do better. So how have I gone about preparing to beat my previous score?
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks clearing my decks I don’t have other things scheduled in the middle (like last time, when I figured having a new baby at home surely would leave me with plenty of time to write – stupid Keith.) Short story competitions have been entered. My editing is tidied up and stored away. I have articles for this website written and ready to go.
Of course, there are people who complete Nanowrimo while juggling family, work and all sorts of other commitments. So it’s not just about making sure I have the time. But I think it will help!
Motivation got to be a real problem in the middle weeks the first time I tried Nanowrimo. I made a big poster showing my daily word progress, which I have put it in a prominent place in the flat. My wife has agreed to keep an eye on things and encourage where necessary. That doesn’t mean I’ve asked her to be responsible for my progress – but I know I’ll work that bit harder if she can see how it’s going. Yes, it’s possible I have the psychology of a 12 year old boy, but, hell, know thyself etc.
I’ve installed, tested and played around with some speech recognition software on my laptop. Getting time to sit quietly in front of the computer has become more difficult since I’ve become a stay-at-home Dad! I’m not sure if dictating into the computer will help, but it’s worth a go – I’ll let you know how I find it.
I also have a novel outline, complete with timeline, character sketches and chapter-by-chapter plot structure. I know there are people who think that a novel plan is heresy in Nanowrimo, but I like a good plan and I feel safer going in with an idea of who and what I’m writing about. This is easier, of course, because I’m trying to finish the novel I started last time.
However, the “finish the novel I started last time” idea ran into a problem last night, when I started properly going through my notes.
The stuff I’ve already written is not very good.
Not cringeworthingly oh-my-God burn off this person’s fingers so they never write again shit, more crap-your-mate-wrote-and-you-read-cause-you-have-to shit.
I read it all, then I spent some time headbutting the kitchen table.
After a night’s sleep, I chose to see this as a positive. Since my first Nanowrimo, I have spent a whole year writing and sending-off short stories, studying everything I can get my hands on about how to write better fiction, and sticking articles up here on this site. With a bit of luck this means I have got better at writing.
I am going to be pretty much starting over from scratch. That’s ok. There’s still a story in there somewhere. And after a year of messing around it really is time I finished a novel draft, even if it’s only to throw it in the bin before trying to come up with something better.
Here I go.
Wish me luck.