Camp #NaNoWriMo April 2016: Days 14-17

CNW_Participant

Current Word Count: 14,958 words

That’s including some words I have written today during the WordNerds Write In. This is just a quick update.

Nothing much to report apart from my FMC fighting with her mum about their situation and FMC’s frustration at her, contemplating the school offer and deciding to take it. That is literally all I’ve written but it has pushed me on and it’s nice characterisation.

Here’s hoping I will get much more written. In theory, I am on track for reaching 25,000 words by the end of this month so there’s that.

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Camp #NaNoWriMo April 2016: Days 9-13

CNW_Participant

Current Word Count: 13,000 words

A bit of a jump in word count since my last update and that’s partly because my FMC has discovered she has an ability to reap the souls that have become ghosts and send them on. She has also inadvertently released all the souls in a Pandora’s Box type box that were all trapped there by her non-biological family. It mirrors Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura a lot and I suspect that is my subconscious doing the “write what you know” thing.

On top of that, she has received her school place offer but at the same time being told she must return home to her non-biological family. The place offer has fallen by the wayside for now whilst my FMC returns and finds herself at odds with everyone, including her mum. There’s friction there and it’s something I can play with.

Story wise then, it is going okay (mostly!) but writing wise, not so much.

The ability and the releasing of the souls is clichéd I know but I like it. Whether it stays should I actually do another draft after this, I have no idea but for now, it’s staying because it fits. It has the added bonus of giving her an ability that links her to her biological paternal family, who are all involved with the ghost hunting world in some form. I suspect I may use that link at least to give my FMC some comfort.

I do suspect though that I might have started the story a little too early in story time. Talking to a friend earlier today has convinced me that I may have enough story to cover the time but along with the fact that I am at 13,000 and the FMC has not gone to school yet, I think I may struggle a little. Yet again, it is something that I need to address should I redraft this. I’ll get there in the end, I know, but it is still going to bug me a little in the meanwhile.

How are things going for you? Good? Bad? Into the meat of your story or languishing at the start? Don’t be afraid to comment below.

#Writing Update

Word Count: 1,271 words

Not a lot written so just a quick update really. This past week has been a little crazy.

It has mostly been the characters discussing how things would have changed between themselves and their families before heading home for their half term holidays. My FMC also seems to be developing anxiety or, at least, having a burst of it. Considering her family, it wouldn’t be surprising if she had anxiety. Anyway, she seems to be anxious about how they perceive her and in turn, how she perceives them and is she being snobbish?

Still, its words and it’s pushing me on. I am not going to get this done before November but NaNoWriMo will be a good break from it.

#Writing Update

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Word count: 1,334 words

Apologies for the lack of updates. Life had to take priority and naturally that has had an impact on my word count.

I’ve been up against a wall a little, trying to figure out where to go next. This means I’ve had my FMC and her love interest talking a lot about different stuff, mainly what has happened at school, including extracurricular activities. I do suspect that her love interest might be making an attempt at becoming the MMC in this.

I think I might have hit a turning point though, thinking about Halloween and the sorting of my characters. I have decided to essentially do something very similar to or maybe even pretty much copy the All Seeing Eye from Weirdsister College, the sequel to the Worst Witch TV series, for the ceremony. I have only a vague idea and that’s why I say copy. It’s not original or good but to get on with the story, I think it is going to be a necessity. I have also accepted that I am not going to have this story anywhere close to a finish one come NaNoWriMo.

As well as thinking about the story, naturally my attentions have turned to November, especially with the site wipe and relaunch this month. I have my idea and the characters are developing but the story is not fully clear. I do have 21 days or so left so I should be okay, should be.

Plans for this next week is just to try to catch up with my word count, especially as I have raised my target to 25k in preparation and in readiness for next month. I just hope I will be okay.

#Writing Update

Word count: 4,217 words

With that word count, it means I have just over 1,600 words to hit this month’s word count target of 10,000 words. I am naturally going to see if I can beat it by way and it is possible with over a week to go of this month. I could also get the just over 1,800 I didn’t get last month.

The main reason for the big word count is the fact that my character (and I) have discovered she is a dab hand at duelling, even with a very basic knowledge of magic. Of course there is some fun to be had with that and is perhaps ideally revealed now as my FMC’s secret has been announced to an after school club she has joined before going round the school like wildfire.

It is earlier than I anticipated but I am realising that realistically, when it comes to names, it would be very difficult for her to hide it and perhaps should have come out earlier. But it is out now and I know I can use it for some fun, especially as she and her classmates have not yet been sorted. All their true natures could come out and make sorting them for the school (and for myself) much easier. I still have no idea how they are going to be sorted or how I am going to make it a magical process. I just know it happens on Halloween.

I am actually excited by the possibilities suddenly opened up by revealing her name now, both at school and upon her return home and still the main plot line is intact. Something mentioned could actually now help play into the hands of it even though it was meant to be throwaway background information about my FMC.

Plan for this week is primarily just to keep writing and keep going with the story. Finish my word count and perhaps catch up last months words too then keep pushing to make my graph look all pretty and nice! As a quick aside, the picture is perfect since the new series of Doctor Who started today in the UK and I stopped writing this post to watch it. There is every chance I might be tempted to keep using it for the rest of this series’ run.

Monthly #Writing Update

Image Source: Insider Monkey/Google Images

I wasn’t able to post on Saturday as planned so figured I might as well wait until today, the last day of the month, to post and do it as a monthly thing. I have started using the Write All Year Excel sheet to track my word counts and other little things so it just feels right to do it like this. The main reason I am not doing it tomorrow is because I have errands to run and it is 1st September, Back to Hogwarts Day, so I suspect I will be distracted and will forget. It does mean that this is not a full monthly update.

Whether or not this will be the only Monthly update or it continues, I don’t know.

Weekly Word Count: 2,963 words

Monthly Word Count (so far): 8,081 words

So I am still shy of my 10k target for this month but either way, that is a lot of words.

I didn’t exactly do all of my aims from last week. The idea story does have some mileage in it but I ended up putting it aside and the plans to completely rewrite the first chapter of my Novella MS in favour of my Camp story. I do want to go back to the idea story with the magical spy character but I suspect it is going to come down to motivation. The Novella MS will just have to stay on my list of things to do.

The Camp story meanwhile, keeps being pushed on and on. I don’t know why I seem so fixated on it. I am just really enjoying writing it. Maybe it is because of the time of year or maybe it’s because the story keeps throwing up new ideas and announcing stuff I was not aware of was included in the story. This might sound weird to a planner but to someone like me, who plans but also allows the characters to take the lead on stuff, it can happen. It is not without its problems though.

There is a definitely Hogwarts feel starting to come to it as the characters announced that there were houses at the school, based on personality. I am not entirely happy with the personality aspect nor how the pupils are divided up between them: observations from staff, Head Boy and Girl and the Prefects who then decide who goes to what house. I am trying to think of a much more magical way for it to happen and no, a Sorting Hat is not an option! I have looked to see how places like Harrow and Eton house their pupils but it came down to complimenting the current cohorts in those houses in terms of skills, academic and sporting.

If anyone has any suggestions that might help, comment below.

Two other things have cropped up that have stopped me writing. One, the look and layout of the school buildings. I have found pictures of a building in New York that I feel is right for the school but also encompasses the equilateral and uniform design of Georgian mansion architecture. I can see it in my head because of those pictures, stuff I did at school and my local area however as I had my characters start exploring the school, I realised I needed to review parts of the design to figure out where everything is, like shared and separate facilities. I might need to do some drawing out of some stuff but for the most part I think it is sorted.

Another thing that cropped up whilst I was having two characters argue was the social structure of the magical society. It is probably going to be along similar lines of class structures within society like upper, middle and lower class at its most basic but not quite. It was a bit silly to think that this wouldn’t come up as a hierarchy of sorts with the schools is already at major play. Another thing is that one of the characters in the argument I suspect is titled so I may need to look up maybe died out titles within aristocracy or perhaps invent new ones. Is that possible?

This month, I definitely did not meet all the aims and goals I set myself but I feel I also succeeded in doing a lot too, including attending my first NaNoWriMo Write In. My local group does them year round so it’s great to be able to jump in without the pressures of NaNoWriMo itself. Hopefully, I am going to be able to attend more now I have actually managed to navigate and get there and back without hiccup. With a new month beginning tomorrow and the run up to Halloween, NaNo and Christmas as well as the events themselves, it could be a very interesting time to say the least for how much or little continues to be written.

Camp Analysis

Image Source: GoodSearch Images

I like to analyse and reflect on NaNo events. Anyone who has read my blog for a while probably knows this. I feel that it is an important ability to have in general when participating in a competition, doing a project or even just looking at how you handled a situation or event to know how to do better and learn lessons. I genuinely do not want to be preachy but I feel it needs to be said to explain why I am doing this post and possible future posts. I have done some analysis during the month when posting my updates but this is going to be the main one.

I know the reason I ended up switching stories is because I started out writing a sci-fi story without enough knowledge or experience of the genre. Whilst I have some understanding of the possibilities and the impact that could occur from more automation and more robotics coming into life and the work place, I realised I did not however know enough about science fiction and the composition of those stories. Doctor Who, Star Wars and some Star Trek is not going to cut it. If I was to ever return to that story, I would need to do more research, get a better understanding and decide how much of the story I want focused on the robots. If I pull away from that or make it background, then the feel and genre of the story will change. Perhaps I also need to ignore the fact that the story is a reworking of a very old Robot Wars fan fiction I wrote years ago. I know looking at the story planning that there are enough elements that push it into the crime-come-family drama with a sprinkling of romance because that is something I write in general.

I write romance stuff because apparently I just cannot write anything at the moment without their being a romance storyline. I also write crime because it interests me and lets me explore the human condition as I know it and from what I have observed of the world. It’s also the mystery to be solved, the gathering of information and the fact that it creates drama, plot and story. It is possibly also worth noting, I am very goal orientated. Family drama comes again from my observation of the world.

These are all genres that come from things that everyone understands from their own lives: love, lost, hurt and, let’s face it, every family has its niggles because no family is perfect. It could be as small as the teenager kicking up a fuss about having a curfew or even as big as knowing that the elderly members of the family are coming to the end of their days. We read books and watch films because it lets us experience it and write those stories to understand it.

And that one word, understand, is probably why I got bored and hit a wall with the original robotics story. So in turn, my mind ran away to fantasy land and gave me a new idea using similar or the same themes: the girl who hid her talents under a cool façade to avoid getting involved with the family business. That could have been any number of genres once I started working on the details but because I read and write fantasy a lot, it became a fantasy story, calling on my knowledge of the school story too.

The fact that it became a school story was down to me deciding the FMC was going to go to a school I had created as a child after reading the Malory Towers books by Enid Blyton. Because of the lack of understanding about planning when I was a child and because it was a story that had come to me during the month, I ended up having to do a lot of planning and breaking off from writing to figure things out. Not ideal but it did the trick as I did hit my target of 10,000 words on Day 17.

Since then, I have kept writing (aside from Windows 10 problem) but maybe not as much as I would like. One of the techniques that have really helped I feel is sometimes just getting out into the world. Go for that walk. Sit in the café or somewhere in public and people watch. And just because you are working your day job, don’t turn off your writers brain. Observe, learn and take note. Even if something doesn’t help now, it could help later in another story.

So what are the main things I have learnt from this month?:

1) If doing a new genre, research it and try to read within it to understand how it is written and how stories are plotted and unfold.

2) Challenges are maybe not the best time to be attempting something new so, if need be, put the story aside to be written another time when I have more time to devote to it.

3) Rewriting and reinventing old stories is good because I have improved a lot over the years so can give it a better spin or even just express certain things better because I may have new experience to bring to it.

4) Learning to plan more effectively wouldn’t go amiss.

5) Knowing my personality, make sure I have some form of goal or challenge for myself to make sure I am accountable to someone, even if it’s just myself. It also helps me to finish stories after such a long time not being able to write properly.

6) Don’t isolate yourself, especially if you have hit a block in your writing. Get out into the world and experience it.

And 7) if doing a massive software, DON’T do it during an event or challenge! Not even at the end of the challenge. Do it afterwards.

What have you learnt from this last NaNo or even from you last story? Is there anything you would change about the story or your writing methods? Don’t be afraid to comment below.