Do you ever get the feeling that you can work better while being under pressure? When you have to achieve a goal and there’s a deadline faintly visible on the horizon, but still it approaches you pretty fast?
Well, that’s how I feel right now while trying to finish the first draft of my current work in progress, aka WIP; a YA dark fantasy fiction novel, set in contemporary US and Canada, about a young Loup Garou whose family has certain expectations from him; expectations he’s not sure he can live up to. When a pack’s hunting turns out badly, he and his sisters, two seemingly tough chicks, orchestrate this ambitious plan to free themselves and their family from their sworn enemies, a family of Assassins, using the help of a group of vicious, almost forgotten Faes.
Sounds interesting? Fresh? Or is the idea a bit “old”?
I know that this is totally true…
…but Camp NaNo is helping me stay focused and motivated and -maybe- inspired!
I mean, I had to write approximately 2k words every single day if I wanted to have a draft of 60k words till the end of July. Of course, that meant that my WIP would end up being 100k words long; something that apparently didn’t happen since… there’s gonna be a sequel, too. And having a first draft of 100k words long means that some things will be revealed, some things won’t stay till the final draft -or manuscript- and, maybe, some things will lead you to a whole new story.
However, I managed to finish a first draft of 60k words in total, which, considering the fact that it’s the first time I take a WIP of mine so seriously, is quite remarkable! Plus, I have a whole month ahead of me to make it 70k words long!
Which is why, I’ll try to use some of the “tools” Camp NaNo provided to all the participants.
1. Refine and share your plan: Author Sona Charaipotra stated “Once you have your outline, refine it—just like you would the draft. Writing a story, script, or novel is like piecing together a puzzle. Not everything will fit just right the first time around—and pieces may be missing. Rework and move things around until it feels stable, doable, and, well, right. And, just like a puzzle, it can help to have a second set of eyes. Talk your story through and share your outline with a critique partner or two while you’re working on this stage. I always say two brains are better than one, if they’re the right two brains. Sometimes a pal can articulate the particular insight or twistiness you’re scratching at but just can’t reach. Plus, having people invested at this early stage will up your accountability for later.”
This is partly the reason why I shared my “elevator pitch” with you; to see if the idea seems interesting to you, plus whether you’d be interested to read some chapters of the first draft later in August. So, please, let me know by commenting in the comment section below!
2. Make the time to write: The Camp Care Package by Sona Charaipotra said it is essential to “Make a writing schedule (but remember that it’s not the end of the world if you let it slide sometimes). Having the roadmap of an outline—as detailed or bare bones as it may be—will help you plan your time wisely, especially if you want to stick to daily or weekly word count goals. But remember: Camp NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun! Don’t torture yourself if you miss a day or two. (Or ten. Hey, it happens.) And if you’re smart, you’ll build in some room for slacking off here and there.”
That’s the reason why I didn’t push myself too hard; it might end up to some pretty shitty scenes and I really didn’t want that to be the case. Of course, that doesn’t mean I abandoned my WIP for too long. Half a day was the longest I managed to stay away from it; even if eventually I added half a scene!
3. The only thing that worked for me: As author Maurene Goo stated “This year, I finally had to draft an entire novel for the first time in my life. Gone were my casual word count goals. I had to finish this thing. Luckily, one of my writing pals, fellow YA author Morgan Matson, introduced me to my now-favorite writing trick: The 30-minute sprint (similar to the Pomodoro technique). You write for 30 minutes, then take a 5-10 minute break. It’s just enough time to get some words down, but feels bite-sized and totally doable. The little break is a dangling carrot, too. I drafted my entire novel this way and it was incredibly helpful.”
It did help! Honestly! I thought it wouldn’t help, but it did. I just kept writing. I don’t know if it’s art or crap, but it kept me going; it kept me motivated! And I wouldn’t have found out about that if I hadn’t participated in Camp NaNo this July!
There’s only one thing that terrifies me. Like, literally, it sends shivers all way down my spine! What if it’s indifferent? Not loved… Not hated… But indifferent. I can live with hated. I even can live with loved, believe it or not. 😝
What I probably won’t be able to stand is that my story is something that creates those “meh” feelings.
But I guess I’ll find out once I send my first draft to my sweet, talented and super cool Judith Watts. I haven’t forgotten I told you I’ll have the draft ready by the end of August, nor that you told me to send it to you ASAP, once I’m done with it!
So, that’s it for today guys!
I’m gonna go and do some serious writing! I’m gonna go and write the story that scares me! And if I keep up like that in my WIP, all the major characters are going to end up… Whoops! Spoiler alert!
I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!
Let me know if you’d be interested to read some rough chapters of the story. Also, for those of you who are currently working on a short story/novella/novel, what’s the “tool” that truly helps you hit that word goal?
Till next time… Toodles!