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What I’ve learned about my writing and Camp Nano exploits

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Camp NaNoWriMo Shirt

Image by randomcuriosity via Flickr

This month I’ve been giving Nanowrimo a third try. Well, that’s not really true seeing as I’m attempting the brand new CAMP NANOWRIMO, which is like the original Nanowrimo but in July and a separate one in August. And it has a whole summer camp theme.

Things I’ve learned about my writing from previous Nanowrimo years is that:

1. Writing a novel is a LOT harder than writing a short story.

2. I’m better at short stories

3. Seat-of-my-pants writing lends VERY bad results from my brain.

My first Nanowrimo novel was suitably horrendous. A seat-of-my-pants romance novel that had no plot and only one clearly defined character which I abandoned after 10 000 words. Which reminds me of another thing I learned.

4. I am very, VERY bad at writing romance. I haven’t attempted it since.

Although, to be fair I only discovered Nano two days before the final day. So I didn’t have that much time.

My next try at Nanowrimo resulted in 5 000 words during the month. Much worse than the first time, but it lent better quality writing. I actually continued working on it afterwards and it is about a third to three-quarters done. Not counting all the strings that hold it together, which I most likely haven’t written yet. I learned something else from this.

5. A novel, unlike a short story, needs to have a clearly defined path from point A to B, or you’ll end up with rubbish.

So, that novel’s going to need a lot of editing and rewriting once I actually finish writing it. Maybe.

Finally, the novel I’m working on now. It’s coming along better than the others, I’m about half way done. Unfortunately, I lost motivation last week and am now 10 000 words behind. It has a defined route, but I need to work out the stepping blocks. Some of the characters are just hanging around and I need to figure out the details of that brilliant climax! I’m really hope I end up finishing this one, because if I don’t finish it by the end of this month, I doubt I’ll work on it again for at least a year. Yikes.

I’ll post a synopsis for the novel once I’ve written one I’m happy with. Wish me luck! I’ll need it 🙂


About otakufool

I just want to let my opinions be heard, and let my writing be viewed.

16 responses »

  1. Good luck with that. I’m going for the challenge in November. Scary!

  2. Anxiously awaiting this November. I will be joining you both on the challenge.

    This will be difficult for me, as I rarely write long form.


  3. Indigo Spider

    Yes, I will be in the insane NaNo club in November as well. Previous years yielded results similar to what you describe above but this year, yes, this year will be different!

    I say that every year, but this year it will be true. 🙂

    Anyone looking for Buddies on NaNoWrimo, feel free to look up Indigo Spider. I set up Indigo this year hoping that a username change might bring better results. Good luck one and all!

  4. Sally Giffney

    You’d probably be surprised to know I find it easier to write novels rather than short stories. I tried to write a short story once, and couldn’t even come up with an idea for it, but I have a great idea for a novel, which I am writing at the moment.

  5. dawnstarpony

    novels are harder than short stories, even though i love novels a lot more than i like short stories xD to write at least. idk about reading. but i failed camp nanowrimo this year (the june session) i’d like to do the august one… but i’ll probably just use it to *finish* a novel that i already started! but i love nanowrimo XD i like the craziness and the noveling-friends that you get to make. ^_^ btw i’m bad at romances, too!! i actually tried to write a romance for the june nanowrimo.;.. it failed….

    • i prefer reading novels to short stories….but writing short stories to novels 😛 Probably because I fail at it XD I always shy away from finishing a novel during Nano but I think I should anyway or this novel will never get done! I love Nano too! The first time I did it was really fun because I just basically wrote whatever came to mind without thinking about it! Not very novel worthy buuuuttt…twas fun. *sigh* romance…well…i guess you have to have a knack for it…and ample experience =D

      • dawnstarpony

        “ample experience” LOL XD i beg to differ. you just have to READ a lot of other romance 😛 and yeah my very first nano attempt was a huge exposition/rising action / random scenes (that were strung together in a chronological ordeR) but didn’t GO anywhere :-/ it’s because i used the nano writing sprint tweets w/ suggestions ‘XD not a good idea if you are trying to follow a plot line…

      • ugh…I can’t stand reading a book about only romance haha, honestly I don’t know why I tried writing about it! ahhhhh nano sprints…was it bad that I felt the need to stop writing my novel and start a new short story with every interesting prompt they posted? 😛

      • dawnstarpony

        XD noooo! they were such good prompts! and it was awesome to combine them ALL into one scene.. the only problem is that the scenes never really strung together… -_-

    • *sigh* on the plus side…I may have found the main source of my distraction: not well thought out characters! Trying something new, lets see how it goes!


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