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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 🙂


I confess, I have dialogue issues.

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I confess, I have dialogue issues.

I don’t stutter, nor do I have a lisp or any conversational problems. No, I’m referring to my inadequet dialogue writing skills. Having worked on my Nano novel a little this month, I realised something. I often find my dialogue to be limp and a little corny at times and turn around to read some of the most riveting dialogue with the result that I feel hopeless. I know my strong points in writing. I am great at descriptive writing,  I enjoy and am good at narratives and I am decent with opinionated writing. Dialogue, however is the weak, worn string in my high-performance bow.

My dialogue idol is Jane Austen. Unlike most other authors, she manages to make fairly bland conversations entertaining and engaging for the reader. “Pride and Prejudice” in particular showcases her brilliance with conversation. The characters become based on their conversations, the readers can learn about entire aspects of a character just by what they say. That is what I aspire to do with my dialogue. I only have to work out how.

A little help?

1ST Nano story post!

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I still haven’t worked out what to call this novel, lol. Anyway, this is the first scene from my Nano attempt. It needs a LOT of work, I know.

Darkness abounded in the room, devoid of all but a desk, a chair and a human being. But I am no ordinary human being. My head was bowed facing my hands balled into fists in my lap.
The cracking of a distorted voice echoed across the room, “We understand you are not happy with your Advancement.”
My fist twitched. There was that tone of superiority that I was sure of hearing. Of course, however ironic, I had come to speak to my makers.
“I despise my advancement,” I replied stoically.
I was alone in the room, despite speaking to someone. It was bizarre, though I suppose it should not be. I am bizarre after all. The scientists were behind the two-way mirror, I knew, but I could not see them. I could not even hear them that clearly. I was in a box; unclean, unsanitary and dangerous. I stared at my reflection, hoping to make them feel uncomfortable. They probably did.

There was a scuffling sound and I looked at the mirror, wondering whether to look beyond the glass or not. As a slightly higher distorted voice came through the speakers, however, I decided against it. They’d given a woman the job of talking to the cyborg.
“I understand that you feel…sad, 2533. Why is it that you are dissatisfied?”
“I never wanted this,” I murmured, staring down at my fist again.
The metal muscle clenched beneath my human skin. It was sickening. I looked towards the door.
“I see.”
Clearly, she did not.

“How do you feel now?” she asked, clearly changing tact to make me more comfortable.
“Like a dog.”
“A dog?”
“Or some sort of contagious disease.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“You could do something about it…perhaps let me out of the panic room or whatever.”
“I’m afraid I cannot. It was not my-it is not within my power.”

I did not reply.

Nano fail

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So I failed Nanowrimo spectacularly, ending with 5000 words-half of what I did last year in half the time. But all is not lost! I actually like my story and wanted to write it for a long time, now I’ve started it.


So with this in mind, I’m going to post random excerpts from my novel in progress which I will hopefully finish between now and next fall. Wish me luck, I need it.

P.S. Laptops pwn.

Nanowrimo Woes

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You could consider this the journal of a Nanowrimo writer- because lo and behold, despite my certainty that I would not compete this year… I entered anyway.

It’s been a week and I’ve written all of 3000 words. I’m something like 5000 words behind target and of course when I could be writing I don’t have brain energy to do so.


Now, in week three I have only written 5000 words when I should be close to 25000. I wrote twice as much in two weeks last year. I suppose this is a sign that I should work harder to manage my time-and allow for the influence of weather.

Coming Soon….05/08/10

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I was going to save this novel-length story for Nanowrimo but it’s been sitting in my head waiting to get out. And alas, I’ll be busy in November. Sooooo…I’ll start writing and posting it here. Soon. Ish. Depends on when my brain decides to get moving. And how good it is. Cue shrug.

Oh yeah, it’s a Sci-fi story involving: cyborgs. Yup. I think I got the idea from a documentary about cybernetics. Strange, is it not? Anyway, more soon-ish.


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