#CampNaNoWriMo – Week 4

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I did it! I have officially completed #CampNaNoWri2016. I can hardly believe it. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to, but as the word count got higher an higher every day, I fought to complete it. I constantly said to myself “I’ve come this far…” and that was what spurred me on. I found this week so challenging, mainly because I was writing without any real outline, just a vague idea of what I wanted to happen, and although that was kind of liberating, I found it extremely difficult. I think for future projects, I’ll make sure to have an outline first.

NaNoWriMo runs three times a year, once in November, once in April and once again in July. I don’t know if I’ll be participating in the July edition, but I’m looking forward to starting something new and creative again in November!

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#CampNaNoWriMo – Week 3

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Only one week left of the summer installment of NaNoWriMo and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. I’ve found keeping my pace quite difficult this week, as I’ve been struggling with how to end my story. With most ideas, I often have a beginning and a middle, but the ending sometimes doesn’t come to me for a while. Also, with my story idea being a murder mystery, I have to be able to tie all of my loose ends up and solve a murder. With that being said, let’s have a look at my stats for this week.

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I achieved my goal of wanting to write between 35-40,000 and I wrote a total of 36,720, which leaves me 13,280 for the last week, which averages out at around 1800 a day. Next week will be significantly less busy than this week, so I’m hoping to finish my manuscript on time and complete my second ever NaNoWriMo challenge!

Writing a Book: My Tips & Tricks

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I have written a book, which is a phrase I never thought I would say, no matter how much I wanted to. It’s always been a headliner on my bucket list, and last November after a grueling attempt at NaNoWriMo, I managed to tick it off.

I have not ever published a book, but I’m working on it, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to tick that off the bucket list too. But after four years of would-be-novel writing, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to help you on your way to a finished manuscript.

1

Make a list of genres/narratives/plot devices/settings you love.

I sat in front of my bookshelf, looked up at all of my well-loved books and asked myself “what is it about these books that I love?” Here were some of the answers I came up with:

The sea, lyrical writing, boarding schools, room mates/flat mates, no parents, freedom and independence, letters, philosophy, candidness of feeling, metaphor, living in sections/houses/districts/factions, snow, road trips, epic romances, being stuck somewhere, elements, magic, mystery, royalty, marriage, death/grief, group dynamics, history and many more.

2

Make a list of names for characters you love.

You can do this by either going on a baby name website, or for something more periodic you could always go and look at the gravestones of people from a certain time period. This may spark some thoughts as to the identity behind the name, or character traits. Some names I love and plan on using are:

George, Corey, Greta, Matthew, Sasha, Kendra, Laurie, Harry, Lisel, Brodie, Annalise, Catelynn, Ida, Lydia, Teddy, Karen, Shay, Daya, Torin, and many more.

3

Make a summary or short synopsis of your story.

Take the plot devices and the names you have just picked out and try to construct a story idea from the elements you’ve chosen. Don’t worry too much about your story sounding like something that’s already been published, some people believe there are only seven basic plots in the world. If we all worried about whether our story was original or not, we wouldn’t have much time for writing! See also: the thirty six dramatic situations.

For example, I could write a story about Laurie, a college freshman and History student, who writes letters to her future self about the lessons she learns from life, whilst slowly falling in love with her room mate.

4

Buy a notebook, small enough to fit in your bag/pocket and big enough for your ideas!

If you are a writer, then there is a large chance you are also a stationary fiend. Writing a book gives you license to go to your local retailer and stock up on pens, post-it notes, highlighters, paper clips and a notebook (or a few). If you carry around your notebook with you at all times, you can write down an idea when the moment strikes, which is handy if you are particularly forgetful.

When I was working on my NaNoWriMo project, I had my notebook with me at all times!

5

Write an outline, however vague or detailed.

My outline was similar to a script format. I detailed where the scene was taking place, who was there and important factors worth noting. I also wrote the bare bones of the dialogue between the two characters, or bare description of what a character was doing in the particular scene. After I had done this for the beginning, middle and end of the book, I went back through it and added in description, building the image of my scene from the ground up. The structure I had gave me something to work with, which really, really helped during my writing period.

And lastly, set yourself a goal. Whether you aim to write a hundred words a day or a thousand, it’s important to stay focused and disciplined.

I hope this little article has helped inspire a few of you to get writing. Let me know down in  the comments if any of these tips work for you!

#CampNaNoWriMo – Week 2

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So, the first half of Camp NaNoWriMo has come and gone already, and I’m now half way through my manuscript. As of today I have over 25,000 words, which means I’m on target to complete 50,000 by the end of the month.

This week was difficult as I was quite busy, so finding time to write and keeping myself focused was tough. I told myself repeatedly that even if I only wrote 100 words, or 500, any amount of words is better than none. As for the plot, even though I’m halfway through, I still have a lot of my story left to tell so I still have material to carry me through to the end of the month.

When I completed NaNoWriMo last November, I had a clear structure that I was working from, which was great to ensure that I had enough to work with throughout the month. This time I’m being more of a pantser, and just writing where the story takes me, which a clear start and end goal to bookend the idea. I think it depends on the story as to which way is the best method.

Anyway, let’s see what my stats look like this week.

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By the end of next week I hope to have at least 35,000 to 40,000 words. Then, by the fourth week, I’ll have another 10,000 words to write (roughly) and then hopefully my manuscript will be complete!

#CampNaNoWriMo – Week 1

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What is this? I hear you ask. National Novel Writing Month NOT taking place in November? Yes, that’s exactly it. Camp NaNoWriMo is the Writing Challenge Summer Edition, perfectly timed for you to revise the manuscript you completed in November should you wish to. For me, I’m starting something completely new.

I was absolutely chuffed with the fact I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time last November, (you can see my progress here), but that particular project was something I had been working on for a few years. This time, I wanted to try a completely new fiction idea.

Losing Lola has been an idea that has been playing on my mind ever since the Pretty Little Liars Mid-Season Finale on August 11th 2015. Yes season 6 episode 10, the one where we found out who A was and all loose ends were “tied up”, and the frustration surrounding the revelation was what made me want to write a mystery, specifically a murder mystery. I, like many other PLL fans, had come up with fantastic and elaborate A theories, ones that would give Agatha Christie a run for her money, but those hopes and dreams of a surprising well thought out A reveal were dashed.

So my mind began to work, and a lot of the time and effort I put into grafting A theories, I put into making an outline for my own mystery instead, and thus Losing Lola was born.

Camp NaNoWriMo is slightly different to your usual monthly writing challenge, as you can set your own word count. I’m still being fairly ambitious and hoping to achieve a manuscript of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

So in my first week I managed to write a grand total of 13,052 words, and according to my stats, I’m on target.

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If I can achieve the same amount of words for next week as I did this week then I will be half way through the month and half way through the manuscript. Wish me luck!