This year, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of August!
By sponsoring me, you’ll be supporting a world-wide campaign to inspire amateur writers and novelists to write through programs like NaNoWriMo.org and Camp Nanowrimo every year!
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Usually, it happens every November, but Camp Nanowrimo offers the opportunity to write with a community of writers during the summer months too! Nano allows you to track your progress and your friends’ progress throughout the month and encourages you to finish writing 50,000 words by offering amazing winner goodies! Nanowrimo is a completely free, non-profit organization, and depends on donations to keep running, growing, and inspiring young writers like me!
Thank you for any support you can give! If you can’t give anything, thank you still for taking the time to learn about this great program. Just the moral support helps!
Here is my synopsis and book cover:
A young girl is captured by the Rebellion and is separated from her family. She must learn to adapt to this new planet and its unique culture, while the battle for her home world still rages on. Will she pledge her allegiance to her new owner, a handsome Rebellion officer, or will she fight to save her family’s home, plagued with nightmares from her childhood?
First Week: Divide & Conquer
This month, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. The original NaNoWriMo, in November, is an annual online gathering of amateur and professional novelists, coming together to work on a common goal: to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Camp NaNoWriMo is a summertime adaptation of that goal.
This would be my second attempt at a formal NaNoWriMo competition, although I have challenged myself to write longer fiction several times before. On my previous endeavors into novels, I’ve gone into the process in the same way, and I came out all dried up. I didn’t like my story anymore– my plot was messy, my characters were boring, the message and themes were undefined, and I had no motivation to even begin the editing phase. This month, I hope to do things differently.
The Old Way
I began with a rough outline, some notes, ideas, and character stereotypes to start the story. Then, I jumped in. I divided the 50,000 word goal among each of the action points, to be sure my outline matched up with the plot structure and my novel was long enough. I extended each scene long enough to fit its portion of the goal, adding in endless descriptions and trails leading nowhere to be sure I reached my word count goal.
Looking back on it now, this was a terrible way to start. Long descriptions and unnecessary details add to the story in the long run, but for the rough draft, it’s too much. I didn’t want to go back and edit through all 50,000 words of nonsense to dig out the story in the editing phase. I would have to delete almost all of it, because it wasn’t essential to the story and would end up being completely different in the end. All the words in the story are just fat that make the story more delicious, but it wears a writer down. I kept becoming discouraged with how thick my story was, without actually meaning anything. It was simply too many words.
The New Way
Now that I know my former approach to writing long fiction was wrong, I need to change it. I need to stop “showing” the story, I need to cut down on how many words go into my rough draft. I need to focus on the action– focus on the skeleton. However, this is still NaNoWriMo, and I still want to reach my word goal of a 50,000 word novel in a month.
This month will mostly be an experiment to see how this new process will work out. This new approach means that I will actually write my novel twice– the first time, I will be focusing on the action. I’ll be focused on what needs to happen next, to keep the plot moving. No details, no descriptions. No long, suspenseful scenes, and no poetry. Just action. I’m now on day 11, and I’ve almost completed the main plot at 20,000 words. I’ve reached basically the end of my book already, although it’s really dry and boring. Now I can begin writing my novel a second time.
I’m going to spend the rest of day 11 rereading the first 20,000 and making notes on things I need to continue working in to the story. The first 20,000 words of the draft is the skeleton and bones, and now the rest of the month I’ll be building the muscles. I am still purposefully trying to avoid writing in details and textures, and I’m trying to make every word I type have a purpose and function in the story. The second rewrite will be to add texture and functionality to my plot.
Finally, once I have my skeleton and muscles firmly in place, I can start in on the meat and the fat of the story. Perhaps this will be after I’ve reached 50,000, and it’ll be part of the editing phase, or I might spend some of my NaNoWriMo time adding poetry to my story. Either way, I’ve learned that I must focus first on the story, second on the functionality, and lastly on the decoration. I can’t weave a book from page 1 to 50,000 words while still maintaining my structure. I have to divide and conquer.
Hopefully, by the time I finish this month, I will have a novel I’m much more proud of than my other projects. It should be better organized, and easier to wade through and edit. This may not be “the way,” but it never hurts to try something new!
Finished Camp NaNo!
I officially finished Camp Nanowrimo by putting 50,000 words into my novel (temporarily entitled Shadow of Erafel) this month! Of course, the novel is far from over– this is only the second draft, and there is still some story leftover to work out. Even though I reached 50,000, the story hasn’t found it’s end yet. My deadline to finish the second draft is the day before Moving Date, September 15th. After we move, I’ll be handing my novel over to my Aunt Beth, who’ll edit it for me. When I get it back from her, I’ll complete the third draft.
By that time, I’m hoping that I’ll be done with it (unless it needs yet another draft, which it probably will). When I’m completely finished with it, I hope to self-publish it over Amazon Kindle for everyone who wants to read it.
But of course, I have to finish it first. Wish me luck!