Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Before we dive into how I am getting ready for the month of July, a few updates.

Scifi - I hit a brick wall with my untitled scifi noir story at around 45k words. The story was floundering and though I knew some scenes that needed to happen next, I was struggling to get to them. I found myself floundering. So, instead of continuing to smash my head against a brick wall, I’m taking a step back from the story. I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to have it done by the end of this month so I could go into July with a good sense of accomplishment, but oh well. My plan, once I finish the next round of edits on Rat, is to return and re-outline the story before jumping back in to writing so I can get a full draft.

June partner challenge - It is also a few days until the end of June and the due date for the June partner story, and I have not written any of my scenes. I’m really hoping to get them done this weekend so there’s a chance of finishing the challenge and submitting it, but I don’t have high hopes. I hate to think I’m going to fail the challenge, but that’s a real possibility.

But let’s talk about July. Let’s talk Rat and editing and Camp NaNoWriMo.

This will be my first year participating in Camp NaNo. I’ve done November NaNo three years in a row now, and won the last two. What I’ve decided to do for July is get my next round of edits done for Rat.

If you’ve been keeping up, you know I had my betas give feedback in June. I got written notes from non-writer friends and family early in the month and about halfway through I had my beta critique session with some of my writing group. Go read my previous blog post regarding that if you missed it.

I finally feel like I’ve distanced myself enough from the emotional aspect of the beta reading process and am ready to dive back into editing. But I’m not just going to go into July blind. I always go into NaNoWriMo knowing what I’m going to work on and with a plan.

And so should you.

Here’s my plan:

Read through all the individual notes I received back from my betas - This is going to be an ass-load (metric, of course) of notes to read through. While I’m reading them, I am going to have to parse out the major points each beta reader is saying and enter them into a spreadsheet (have I told you guys how much I love spreadsheets?). At the end of this step, I’m going to have an organized series of notes from all of my readers. I’ll also re-listen to the 2+ hours of my beta critique that I recorded. I’m doing all this on or before June 30.

Organize notes into a task list - Now I’m going to have to go through the notes I just put into the spreadsheet and the notes I took during my own beta critique and create a list of action items. Things that I need to hit this time around, like developed X character, injecting Y subplot earlier, etc. I know I am going to have to re-work act I, reshape some of the battles, and inject more backstory, for example, so those will go onto the list. This will be my task on July 1.

Re-outline - Since I know I’m re-writing act I and I have other aspects I need to work on, the first couple days of July I am going to be re-outlining (again). I’ll spare you guys my unpopular opinion regarding outlining and just say that I will give myself two days to bang out a new outline.

Edit - That gives me 28 days of actual editing and rewriting. I’m guessing I’ll have around 40k words to do in the month, about 1,430 per day. Totally doable. Just a matter of sticking to a routine (a morning session and an evening session) and staying ahead of my daily word count. Nothing I haven’t done before, both during NaNoWriMo and outside it.

How can this help you?

Well, for starters, don’t fall into the trap of starting July without a plan. I know everyone talks about starting a new project and just diving in, about pantsing their way through a project, of the benefits of exploratory writing and fine, if that’s what you want, I’m not going to yuck your yum. That’s just not for me. I’m here to accomplish goals, finish a novel, sell it, and be a professional. Goals, organization, and planning are my ways of getting there. I’m not saying that people who don’t work the way I do aren’t taking their writing seriously. I’m saying I am taking my writing seriously in the best way I know how. And if my over-bearing, anal retentive way of doing things pushes someone to level up their own writing, then that’s excellent.

So, make a plan. It’s okay if the plan changes, it’s okay if you find out your outline isn’t working and you have to re-outline, it’s fine if the story changes halfway through, but organize your thoughts. Figure out what you’re doing and then stay flexible. Don’t dive into NaNo and then hit a wall halfway through and fail your own challenge. Or end the month with an unhappy mess of strung together words that is too daunting to edit or do anything with. Give it some thought, give yourself a plan, give yourself a shot.

Or don’t. This is my way of doing things, like I said.

If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo, be sure to let me know! Tweet me, DM me on IG, or comment below. Let’s keep each other accountable. Tell me what you’re working on and what your goals are so we can check in at the end of the month.

And, as always, be excellent to yourselves and one another. You’re all kick ass. Never forget it.

A.P. ThayerComment