Camp NaNoWriMo Returns in July and I’m Bringing Conflict With Me

Hello again, old friends! It’s been a month or so since I made it back from my first successful trip to Camp NaNoWriMo and came home with a winner’s button. Since then, I’ve been alternating between some casual editing on my unfinished Boyfriend Experiment manuscript (aka going through and just removing the “fluff”) and reading up on the craft of writing. I picked up quite a few reference titles during the Austin Book Store Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day, April 29th, and on a shopping spree over Memorial Day weekend. I cracked the cover on my Writers Digest book Writing Monsters, and I’ll definitely get back to it when I return to my other fantasy novel (there’s a really nasty shapeshifter dragon bad guy in that one). The other WD book I picked up, Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense, basically confirmed my suspicion that my current work-in-progress is going to need a bit more of a rewrite than I originally expected.

According to the book, “the stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death” and “somebody has to be in danger of dying”. That somebody is your main character and s/he’s in jeopardy either physically, professionally, or psychologically. Now, when your MC happens to be an immortal, that makes thing a bit more tricky. Fortunately, Reese believes the cure to his curse is mortal death, so that’s in line with the psychological aspect. Maybe I’m not as far off the tracks as I thought.

Yet when it comes to conflict, I think I can do better by this manuscript. It needs some work on its pacing at the beginning, in order to get things zooming along to the all important middle. We’re on the countdown to the breaking of the curse, and I’m sure Reese can hear the ticking of the clock in the background. Still, unless I bring back the ex we haven’t seen since Reese scared the crap out of him by coming back from the dead, I’m not sure who my late-novel antagonist will be to add those elements of conflict. Well, external conflict anyway. I’m sure my leads will have many things to argue about between now and the start of the eclipse regarding how each believes the curse will end should all go as planned.

In any case, I will keep you guys up-to-date with letters home from Camp in July like I did in April. I’m also excited for my very first homemade writers retreat, which Meagan and I created for ourselves (we even came up with our very own swag!). It will happen smack in the middle of Camp this month, so stay tuned for additional updates from the Texas Hill Country.

You may also want to check out the Curse of Camlann excerpt page between now and July 1. I’ve updated the page with a scene from last session so you can see where our knight and lady have landed.

Here’s to another winner session, a great retreat, and all the words we’re all going to write!


Hitting the Home Stretch at Camp NaNo

Snoopy_happycampingHappy Tuesday, my awesome fellow Campers! It’s the second-to-last weekday work session with my BFF, and boy howdy was it a good one. We met in the mess hall as has been our plan these last three weeks, and after a bit of dinner we brought out our laptops and got to work. M was only one page away from her Camp goal of 30 pages written (she’s doing flash fiction, if you remember) and by the end of the night, she’d finished that last lone page and won!

If she wasn’t my honorary sister, I’d totally call her a brat for beating me yet again. Okay, I’ll probably call her a brat for real later on, but I can’t really begrudge her the victory. I myself had a pretty fab writing night! It was one of those days when the words just flowed like mystical waters from my brain to my fingers and onto the Scrivener page. Tonight’s session netted me my largest word count yet (over 2,000 you guys!) and I’m now only 1,657 away from winning myself.

Easy, peasy, y’all.

If you don’t hear from me before next Tuesday’s final work session here at camp, it’s because we’re preempting our usual Saturday work session to spend the weekend back home. You see, I invited myself along to M’s youngest’s birthday party at the bowling lanes, and I plan to have some fun attempting to throw strikes (which will probably ed up being unconverted splits) before getting back to the keyboard for that final sprint to the winner’s circle.

You never know, though… I might get inspired and fit in an extra mini-session at lunch on Friday just to see if I can’t crank out that last little chunk I need. After all, what I’ve go left is less than I usually do in a day during November, so it’s totally doable don’tcha think? I know I sure do!

Camp Stats

Days written: 11
Daily word count/goal: 2,058/500
Word count to date/target: 13,343/15,000

Hello from Camp NaNoWriMo Day 1

Well, it’s day one of camp and I’m already ahead of the game. I met my BFF for the first of our work sessions today, and after a little catching up to see where I’d left off, I managed to crank out a respectable word count. So I’m calling it a day and heading out to the bonfire to make some ‘Smores with my friends before turning in for the night.

I don’t know if I mentioned what goal I’d set for myself during April. I plan to write 15,000 words (that’s 500/day in case you were wondering), which should be pretty easy to accomplish especially if I’m true to form. (I’m a rather prolific writer once I get going, as this novel’s enormous word count can attest.) Granted, you might think 15k is a rather wimpy word count to work toward, but that’s the whole point. I’m attending Camp this time around not to crank out all kinds of crap, but rather to get me back in the habit of writing again. I also get to color in a book on my bullet journal page’s bookshelf for each 1,000 words I write, and I really want that thing filled up with colorful book spines.

Thankfully I have two really good friends who will be there for me and cheer me on. Heck, I think my BFF is even scouring her house for her pom-poms later tonight so she can keep me motivated. =] I can’t promise I won’t be embarrassed should she whip them out of her backpack and start waving them around, but I can promise to keep going on this novel until it’s FINALLY finished. I even started brainstorming endings last week just in case I got that far.

I have no idea which ending I’ll choose, but at least they’re there written down in black and white should I need them.

Stay tuned for more tales from our cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll see you soon!


April Camping I Will Go, NaNo-style

Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in the upcoming movie “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Well hello there, old friends! I would love to tell you I’ve been so busy writing that I just haven’t had the time to blog, but alas ’tis not the case. After November, I took a short break as is my norm, and then things went KABOOM. My long-time boss retired, the annual year end processing project seemed to develop quirk after quirk thus driving all of us to the edge of insanity, and to top it off my best friend left the company, leaving a huge hole in my world. Not to mention a hellish allergy season, worrying about my cat (she’s got kidney disease) and a wicked bout of winter blues. So things have been off for a while and I just couldn’t find the motivation to write.

Then I saw the email that NaNoWriMo sends out at the beginning of March announcing Camp once again. My first thought was (and yes, it was John Hurt’s voice I heard in my head from that scene in Spaceballs), “Oh no, not again!” Yet the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about my book–I always do in the off-season–and even more so after seeing the trailer for the new King Arthur movie that’s coming soon. It’s as if the universe is saying, “Hey, Nik – pay attention! There’s a reason they call it a legend. People are still interested. So finish your freaking novel!”

I took the hint.

My current Camp NaNoWriMo bullet journal page (click to enlarge); banner courtesy of NaNoWriMo and bookshelf courtesy of Boho Berry aka Kara Benz.

I pinged my bestie M on Facebook and asked her if we were going to Camp, and she (a little too readily for my waffling heart) agreed. I really like her flash fiction plan, and of course I’m returning to Reese’s world. So between now and April 1, I’ve got lots to do:

  • finish up my bullet journal Camp page(s)–as you see from the snapshot, I’ve already added the official Camp plot bunny banner (so awesome) and Kara’s bookshelf that I’ll use to track my word count (1,000 words/book). I still have a couple of things to add like title banners, additional tasks and the like.
  • review where I left off in the story;
  • find November’s outline so I know where I’m going;
  • make any necessary edits in Scrivener; and
  • celebrate my birthday!

I do hope to keep you guys up to date with letters home from camp this April, which I neglected to do last summer, so stay tuned. I’ve also tweaked the Curse of Camlann synopsis page, and here’s hoping last year’s COC playlist remains inspiring as it has in the past. I thought you might be curious about the story, so I’ve created a new COC excerpt page and shared a scene written at the end of NaNo.

Happy reading and writing, everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 12

whiteguy_goalGood evening! I think this post is going to be short and sweet tonight because I’ve been running at full speed since oh, Thursday morning and I hit some significant goals today. Considering I didn’t write Wednesday or Thursday, although yesterday I did manage to flesh out the remainder of my novel’s outline and add it to my nifty new writing journal, reaching those goals to stay ahead are even better. What are they? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

  1. Reached 25,000 words on day 12 (that’s today, in case you’ve forgotten), which is 3 days early.
  2. Attaining goal #1 also means it’s the earliest I’ve ever had that many words in the bank in all my years of participating in NaNoWriMo.
  3. Because of goal #1, I get to color in the remaining books on Page 1 of my word count tracker in my bullet journal, something I didn’t even come close to doing this summer at Camp.
  4. Goal #1 allowed me to surpass my prior highest single day word count, clocking in a total of 3,829 in a little under four hours.

All in all, I’d say I had a pretty good day. Since it started out with a morning playing in clay at ceramics class with my mom, ’twas a great day all around.

I’m off to bed, my wrimos. Catch up with you all tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 3 Update

Hello from the trenches, my fellow wrimos! It’s November 4, my third day of writing this go-around, and I am so pleased with what I’ve accomplished so far. Not only have I had multiple writing sessions each day, but I’ve clocked in word counts over 3k on two of them to put me a day and a half ahead of the suggested goal.

Pardon me a moment while I do a happy dance in my chair (or diner booth as the case may be).

On top of that, I’ve had the chance to write with two great gals during our casual and unofficial write-ins this week. With Kel, I’ve turned my lunch hour into a productive spurt of writing, and with Meagan, our diner dinner turned into another successful session. Okay, yes, both of them have counts higher than mine, but you know what? I’m okay with that. It doesn’t matter what their counts are, or what project their working on. What does count is that I’m well on my way to winning another NaNo with the added bonus of getting that much closer to actually writing those two magical words on that last page: The End.

This year, as I mentioned in previous posts, I’m utilizing my bullet journal to track my word count and other things NaNo. I have to tell you all, I’m getting immense satisfaction in coloring in all those little books on the shelves each night after I’ve finished the day’s writing. It’s so much fun making turning those colorful books blue, and because of my success this week, I’m only four books away from having two completely blue shelves. Here, let me show you. I took a snap of the first bookshelf page in my bullet journal, and it turned out pretty well, if I don’t say so myself (click on the image to see it full size):


Neat, huh? I’m definitely liking the creative aspect of drawing the books and shelves (which I didn’t think I could do very well, and wasn’t I pleasantly surprised at how they turned out), and seeing my success progress as I color has a bit of meditation in it as well.

So I bid you adieu this Friday evening with a happy smile, and hope that your writing has been as successful, pleasurable and prolific as mine. :)

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 1 Report

coc-book-cover-newGood evening, my fellow wrimos, wherever you are! It’s me, reporting in from Day 1 of National Novel Writing Month 2016. I managed to finish up the previous chapter I was working on last Friday night so I could start clean today with the next chapter in the continuing saga of The Curse of Camlann. That’s the new book cover for this year at right; if you’ve looked me up on the official NaNo site, you’ll see it there as well. All in all, it was a pretty good start!

Today marks the first of many lunchtime write-ins I have scheduled with a fellow co-worker who’s also doing NaNo. We blocked off time in a small conference room, brought in our snacks, and got to work. I admit, I got a little farther along than Kel did, only because I had all my prep work done and she had a bit to do before diving in. Me, I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to start the scene, considering I’d kind of flaked out on the ending of the last scene by having the heroine faint.

I know. I know! But considering she was still in shock from a) finding our hero dead after being killed by her ex-husband at the beginning of the scene, only to have b) our hero come back to life a moment later, having her faint when our hero tells her he’s been alive since 506 AD and fought alongside King Arthur, it seemed like a logical option at the time.

Thankfully, I figured out my opening and my trusty outline helped me get to 1,026 words in an hour, which is mighty fine. I even had an amusing moment when I did a ‘Net search for “expensive whiskey” to find out what my hero might have in his wet bar. That’s probably not the sort of thing one should Google while at work, but in my defense I was on my lunch hour.

It’s now past quitting time and I’ve added to my previous count to meet my daily goal and then some. Hurray! This bodes well for the rest of the month.

My first eight word count books of my first of two word tracker pages in my Bullet Journal are to be colored in as well, this time in blue as that’s the color I associate with NaNo. I am also realizing I need to look at other pages for tracking other milestones, such as “nano update blog post written” and “days written” to name a couple. I’m sure more will occur to me, but that’s the beauty of a bullet journal; you can add them in wherever you think of them and because of your index they’re easy to find. I also have a year of journaling under my belt, whereas last year around this time I had oh a week, so I understand more about how the system works and how to adapt it to my way of tracking tasks.

Speaking of tracking, check out my new widget in my left menu where I’ll keep you up to date on my progress and comment on the overall day. Just expand the menu to see it. Okay, I’m off to go play with my new toy (a spiffy new laptop!) and relax a little. Talk to you soon, wrimos!