Tag Archives: camp nanowrimo

Published: Behind the Scenes (March 2017 edition)

Published- Behind The Scenes.pngIn October of last year I signed a contract with Glass House Press for my alternate-history fantasy series to debut in 2018. For fun and for the benefit of anyone interested, I started up this blog series chronicling monthly updates of the behind-the-scenes in being published. Read the introductory post here! A list of all the other posts I’ve written so far can also be found at the end.

In my previous post, I got in-depth about developmental editing and progress with that. This post, I’m going to have a little less to talk about, because as mentioned before, I’m writing a prequel to my series. So what’s primarily happening behind the scenes? Lots of writing. Which, hey, we’re all doing, that isn’t anything new. This entry is going to end up a little diary-like.

The basic reason for the need of this prequel is that my world is very complex, and a lot to jam into a first chapter. Additionally, my first book arguably starts out too far into my character’s arc. My editor thinks there too much for the reader to catch up on and takes away from getting the reader into the story. It can easily be too confusing, with all the cultural terms along with hints about character and world history I’m throwing about.

I personally think it’s fun to have a bit of mystery about the character and world to drive the story… but I can’t be sure I’ve created enough of a reason for the reader to care about Fairian and hang around for getting answers.

(So we’ll see how that all works out when we get to the editing of the actual writing and how the story works out bit, but meanwhile — )

I’ve been assigned to writing the prequel. Which is unfortunately slow going, as I haven’t really written anything (fiction) on ‘contract’ before, so I’m discovering the jarring difference between writing for oneself and writing for someone else. There are many author-ly laments on all platforms of social media about this problem, so I don’t feel like I need to go into it here. Needless to say the experience will be good practice.

Despite the reasons for actually making the prequel happen, I am discovering my love for the story. The events in the prequel I’ve always treated as past history, as influencing ‘current’ events and seen through the lens of the present. Writing the prequel as present, in the eyes of my main character that’s 5 years younger… well, that’s pretty interesting. And hard. A lot of the characteristics that make up Fairian (my main character) have developed in part because of The Events in the prequel, so they’re not in place in her personality yet. But I can’t have her a completely different person. So I have to plant the seeds of her later personality, then have The Events, and then show the start of her personality change.

This is surprisingly hard. Mostly in the sense that Fairian is kind of a spoiled, naive brat at this point in time, and I’m kind of wondering how to make her even likable. I read an article the other day that mentioned something like this, but emphasized that (in the beginning of a story at least) you need to make your characters interesting before likable, worry about likability later. That, I’m pretty sure I can do.

One of my editors suggestions for clarifying my giant world for readers while still keeping mystery for my characters was to write from another point of view. I struggled with this for a little while because this is really Fairian’s story, and I have a weird complex with keeping things mysterious and throwing questions around like confetti. But, I found a happy medium. Inter-spliced between chapters from Fairian’s perspective are reports from … basically this world’s version of the magical CIA.

So in essence, I get to write Incident Reports and Correspondence of global magical clandestine operations in an alternate reality.

Just reading that I get excited.

(Now just to make sure they end up being exciting as they sound, ha!)

Camp NaNoWriMo hit just in time to help complete this thing. It’s going to be a novella (I think anyway…) so less words to write, but unfortunately I’m being so nitpicky about the craft and details it’s getting in the way of getting words down. I’m re-remembering to just get the words down and worry about editing later. Thus, Camp NaNoWriMo is helpful as the kick in the pants I need. I want to have this thing done by the end of April. I’ve written 50k in NaNoWriMo several times before; getting out 30k more should be just fine as long as I stay focused.

Speaking of focused. I need to turn my attention to writing all those words! This whole weekend ended up being “manual labor weekend” with barn cleaning and house building, and before that I was flat on my back as a migraine reminded me I’ve been messing with my sleep schedule a little too much (excuses, excuses). I need to get back at it. I still don’t feel fully recovered, but maybe the fuzzy-headedness will help just get the words out and not have a complex over all the details…

Thanks for reading, friends! Stay tuned for April’s update in a few weeks; this post ended up being a little late for a variety of reasons, next time’s should be on time. Let me know what you think, share experiences, feel free to commiserate …

Happy writing!

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Completing Camp NaNoWriMo

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Camp NaNoWriMo technically isn’t over yet, but I set a low word count goal (as I was working on a novella) so I completed it with time to spare.

Unlike with NaNoWriMo and it’s pressure for a 50k goal, I don’t feel there were as many lessons learned. Probably because I had time to play and take breaks and fiddle around. The less pressure was nice, and I enjoyed keeping track of word counts. It helped keeps me motivated and I like seeing my progress; I think I want to find a program where I can input word counts year round. It seems like a helpful tool to keep me motivated/pay attention to much I’m writing every day.

Completing my first shorter-but-still-long writing task was pretty neat. I really like how the novella turned out, with a longer story that’s still simple (and completed within a month). It’s actually not going to fit into the original writing contest I had planned (because of the word count) so I’m going to try for another publication. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll take a hack-saw to the story and see if I can cut it down enough for the original publication idea.

Of course, I’ll be needing to let it sit for a while and do some editing. I sent it off to my sister after it was completed, who always has incredible responses along the lines of “OMG THAT WAS MAGICAL SEND ME MORE NOW NOW,” so that was encouraging. I’m going to get a few beta-readers for this thing as well to try to make it (more) perfect.

Otherwise… it was a fine April. I liked it overall and I’ll be doing it again next year (maybe with a bigger goal, depending on my needs at the time). Until then — novella completed, and it’s probably time to return to writing my series!

How has everyone else’s Camp NaNoWriMo been?


Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey, so, apparently November isn’t the only day to join up with pals and use word goals to kick your writer-butt in the pants. Only for Camp NaNoWriMo, you get to choose your writing goal. And you also are put into “camps” with other writers to help facilitate and make friends.

Mostly I really want to work on the project I’ve tasked for it. But I can’t, as I want to use the word counts for the month of April, and this project I’m working on can only be 17k words (it’s for the contest I mentioned in my last post), so I’m constrained that way. Which is actually kinda fun and I’m looking forward to it. But impatient for April to be here.

So instead of writing on the novella I’m writing this post. I probably should be outlining and researching for the novella, but I’m feeling too restless. Probably because it’s sunny and I actually should be outside working on the barn.

Because look at these faces that will greet me: