Boo-Yah, Camp NaNoWriMo

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27 days and 25,000 words later, I have completed Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017. My first ever NaNo camp!

*throws confetti*

25k words is manageable. I normally write about 15k words per month, so this was me sitting down a few more sessions and repeating that. It meant Rune Mage has a few more chapters under its belt so if I ever get struck with another bout of long shifts, I can still update. It also meant it gave me more time to go back to unpublished chapters and add more fodder when I get inspired.

Current word count is 138,454 and I’m hitting the climax of the story soon. Check it out here!

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Camp NaNoWriMo

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I hadn’t planned on doing this. Rune Mage for NaNoWriMo2016 was tough as it is because of work, but my friend Stef was like “Do it! Do it!” so I joined her cabin. I’ve pledged to do 25k, which is just under double my usual amount (~1.8k twice a week, about 14k a month).

Making progress so far, I think! Certainly allowing me to move ahead with the story and gives me time to have ‘spare’ chapters for when I’m too busy to write.

Word count for the novel so far is 121k and I haven’t reached the climax yet. This might be a book that’s a tad too long. Oops.

NaNoWriMo: Week 4

On the 26th November, I completed 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo. I finished it! With much encouragement, tears, sleepless nights, and dogged determination, I pushed my word count bar past its finishing point.

Things I’ve come across (and maybe learned) in the past month:

  • To avoid sitting in front of the desk and your mind blanking, always be thinking of the next scene when on the go. Whether it’s showering, cooking, driving (if safety is achieved!), on the toilet, etc., always think about what’s happening next. That way, you hit the ground running when you sit down to write.
  • Because of the above, there is always time to write no matter how crazy your schedule. Whether it’s during a work break, toilet break, commuting (if you’re not driving), if during hands-occupied periods you’re thinking of what happens next, when you do have hands you can start writing right away.
  • The NaNoWriMo Facebook group is very friendly and helpful. The people there are always chirpy and encouraging and they come from all sorts of backgrounds, so there are lots of ideas to bounce off and funny stories.
  • Real life camaraderie is great fun. I found out through pure coincidence that one of my work colleagues also write and is doing NaNoWriMo (looking at you, Jenny) and it’s great fun when over lunch or driving home with her we can chat about writing and NaNoing.

The last (and first) time I did NaNoWriMo, I was a medical student and spent much of my clinic sessions (which involve me sitting inconspicuously in the corner trying not to fall asleep) writing in my notebook. I had time. My work days were mostly 9-5 or 8-6, no nights, no weekends.

This time, I did two sets of 7 shifts in a row, which were both 3-4 day shifts flipping immediately into 3-4 night shifts (totalling 80-ish hours each), and some long days interspersed with office hours in-between. Quite a few of the days I left work late as people became unwell. It was really hard. Granted, I have no children or pets so I didn’t need to look after anyone but myself out of work hours and I didn’t have long commutes from work. I didn’t need to do much tidying or cleaning. It could have been harder.

Still chuffed about my progress. Rock on NaNo2017!

NaNoWriMo: Week 3

Week 3! Wow, November’s gone quickly, and that’s not a good thing. I’m one-sixth of the way through my research project and only have two weeks left to do it. Admin keeps not giving me the notes I need and it sucks.

But the writing? It’s getting better! At the time of writing, I’m at 38k. Almost at 80% of the way through and ahead of the line (just!) I’m slowly getting to know the characters’ voices. Seiren is getting more out of control, both mine and in terms of her place in the story, but she’s also finally finding her niche, so I’ll let her progress the way she is. I’m also developing the side characters and I enjoy seeing how they interact with each other. I’m absolutely exhausted with lack of sleep and constant type-type-typing away, but it’s still very much enjoyable.

The story’s ending came to me at midnight last night when I was trying to get to sleep. After a quick scribbled note into my phone, I finally fell asleep. So the current ending is kind of a happy one, but as my readers are aware I don’t usually do happy endings. Bittersweet, yes. So it might just end up being bittersweet.

I think I can do this. I’m feeling optimistic.

 

Book Review: Indigo by Skyhuntress on Wattpad

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Recently I completed reading Indigo, a NaNoWriMo2013 project by Kelsey Ryan/Skyhuntress on Wattpad. It follows the story of a lone, unusual hero called Athira, who spends most of her time acting as a vigilante whilst going after the source of the unusual disturbances in the world of Thols.

Contains spoilers (duh).

Continue reading

NaNoWriMo: Week 2

Week two is here! At the time of writing this, I’m at 23k words, almost halfway to my NaNo goal. Last week I said I was struggling because I keep running out of juice and motivation, and therefore I don’t feel I have what it takes to be a full-time author. And this week, it hasn’t changed.

A new struggle has arisen: I still don’t hear my characters’ voices.

That’s not unusual, which is why my stories do take some time to solidify before I feel confident to post them; that and along with my past history of stalling and going on hiatus during my depression episode two years ago meant I try not to promise regular updates until the book is finished, or at least I am sufficiently far ahead to carry on updating even if writing stops.

NaNo doesn’t allow that. And when Seiren and Madeleine still doesn’t really talk aloud in my head it makes it more difficult to see where they would go. The plot is done. I know where they need to go and what they need to do, but I have yet to elicit any genuine reactions from them. And when I have less regular updates, usually by about 20% of the way into the book I know what they’re like. There’s no hint of that happening any time soon, currently. Sucks to be me.

NaNoWriMo: Week 1

Well, Week 1 has been and gone! At the time of writing, I had just hit 14k words and I have to say, nothing but this has confirmed what I suspected all along.

I’m not built to be a writer (for a career).

I love writing, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing for good. Writing got me exploring places my mind had never been, twisting plots out of apparent thin air, sent my imagination reeling with every piece of writing, film, video, and anime that I watch. It’s amazing. It’s fulfilling and exhilarating to go through the journey with my characters and grow with them every step of the way.

But forcing myself to churn out words, to turn that detailed plot into actual story, making each of my characters talk to each other, to themselves, all the time — that is exhausting. Knowing I have to write, I have to meet that deadline — and it’s just for NaNo! It’s meant to be for fun! But that makes me realise if I were to become a full-time writer, assuming I even get an agent or publishing deal and people want my books, this will become my life. I will need to write, need to meet deadlines, just to earn money and pay my bills.

I don’t want that.

I don’t think I can deal with that stress when my source of stress relief is writing itself. And I admire very much those people who can write on demand and write continuously, because I can’t. NaNoWriMo has just cemented for me what I’ve always known: writing (for me) is a hobby, and I need to enjoy it for it to remain a hobby.

I’ll carry on NaNo’ing as long as I can, because there is still some bit I’m enjoying. It’s started to become a bit like running, though. The start is OK. I think I can do it. I think it’s not that bad. Then my lungs start burning, my brain starts aching, and my muscles hurt. Then I realise it’s actually a bad idea and regret thinking I was ever fit enough to run. My thinking machine is starting to ache a little.

Am I biting more off than I can chew? I can safely say yes.