First I would like to apologize. I didn't manage to get a single blog post up last week. I'm supposed to do two a week and failed utterly. I'm going to blame it on my lack of computer the week before and therefore the overwhelming need to get caught up on my planning goals. I needed to have a plot done by end of day Thursday, and I just barely managed it (finishing it at 11:52)
Anyway, onto the real point of this post. Camp Nano.
In November every year (since I started in 2010) I do something called NaNoWriMo. For any of you that don't know, nano was started by a non-profit organization by the name of OLL (Office of Letters and Light). Their main goal is to encourage amateur writers to get those books done. The entire idea behind it (and I'm paraphrasing here) is: You can edit crap, you can't edit nothing. Yes, I use that phrase all the time, no I didn't actually hear it from the website.
Basically it just means, you need to get that first draft written no matter what. Don't make excuses, don't put it off, get it done. Because until you have that rough draft in your hand, you're never going to become the writer you want to be. It's basically the first step.
Nano has done great things for me. In 2010 I started off thinking there was no way I was going to reach the goal (which, in case you were wondering, is 50k words in a month) and ended up with three times the amount I needed. It was crazy. I discovered so much about myself that month. That I'm actually quite competitive (I spent the entire month staring at a chart swearing that I was going to surpass that first place person). That there are, in fact, other people out there like me (before that point it had been a while since I had met anyone who truly understood me). And, of course, the most important thing of all, that I am a writer.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, last year OLL came out with another program (NaNoWriMo isn't the only program they have. Next year I'm going to try Script Frenzy with some friends as well. I'm pretty excited.)
They called it Camp NaNoWriMo. Basically it's just Nano, but in the summer. You have the same goal as in November, 50k words in a month, but the format is slightly different. First, all of the pep talks that arrive in your mailbox is camp themed, as is the site itself. Second, rather than forums and grouping us into our districts, we're assigned cabin mates. Five other people who are going through the exact same things as you, just trying to survive the month.
Last year, unfortunately, we weren't given a whole lot of notice. It was about a week before July first that they said 'Hey, by the way, we'll be doing camp this year.' and nanoers, as a collective, kind of gaped at them like they were trying to tell a joke that simply wasn't funny.
They weren't joking, however, and I was talked into the endeavour by a fellow nanoer.
July I managed to hit my goal (just barely. I wrote about 25k of it in the last weekend. It was crazy). August, I didn't even come close, barely scratching 17k before giving up. Even the novel I was working on ended up getting scrapped with a barely there plot (they pulled a Lord of the Rings and walked a lot) and characters whose motivations were murky (not to mention the twins who kept switching ages on me...) With that short of notice, the MLs didn't even have time to consider setting up additional write ins.
It was a tough two months. On one hand I was glad that OLL decided to set up nano in other months as well (really, once a year just isn't enough) on the other with how badly I did, I almost felt like I shouldn't have even bothered.
This year, of course, we had much more notice (not to mention the fact that the two sessions of Camp are a month apart, running June and August this year). I wasn't originally planning on doing either session, but a friend of mine won't be able to join us in August, and I wanted to nano with her. So I wrote up a plot (okay, I started the novel in April and didn't have time to finish it, so that's what I'm working on.)
The title of this book is Pandora. It's about a female assassin who happens to be a werewolf. I've never written a character like her before, and I'm finding her to be so much fun. I love the things she says, and the replies she gets from the people in her life.
So far, at three days in, I'm sitting at 27337 words (54774 words for the novel, as I had already started it) and I'm not even close to regretting the decision to participate. And doing this session certainly doesn't mean that I'm not going to do the other ones. By the end of 2012 I fully intend to have one novel out to agents, and five novels written.
I only hope that I'll actually get to sleep in December.
Happy camping to all my fellow nanoers! I hope your muse smiles on you fondly this month. May your word counts soar, and your plot remain strong. Good luck!