Camp NaNo – Week 1 update

So ends the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo. We should all be at 11,669 words.

I’m currently at 11,779. I’m not as far ahead as I’d like to be, but I’m at least still on track, so I’m happy with that. I’ve decided to give up my goal of writing 100k this month and will instead just focus on finishing Degeneration.

I had rather a hard time concentrating this week. For the first few days we were up at the lake, and I spent more time swimming and hanging out with the family than I did writing. The last night we were there, I got that horrible headache and we drove back, so I didn’t get much writing done that day. The day we got back, my boyfriend’s computer stopped working, so we went to his house to fix it. We ended up hanging out with his family all day, which was horrible for my word count. Then I got sucked into the last half of Mistborn, and I was reading more than writing.

I’m tired of saying I’m going to do things and then not doing them. I’m tired of planning novels that I don’t write. I just feel more like a writer when I’m planning. Planning is what I do best. I like making lists of scenes that are going to occur. I like looking at the outlines and character summaries and imagining the novel that will be produced when those scenes are written out.

It’s not that I don’t like actually writing. I do. Once I’m actually focused, I really enjoy writing. I like finding out more about the characters and the plot. I like seeing how my outline is transformed into something more, something better. I just worry that what I’m writing isn’t good enough. I know that I can edit it later, and I know that I generally like what I’ve written after the fact. I also know that my second drafts are infinitely better than my firsts.

I think my problem with this story is that it’s not really my first draft. I may not have written it as a novel before, but I have now written two drafts of a screenplay. I know the events of the novel. I know the characters. My second screenplay was loads better than the first. I have a climax that’s more than simply “the bad guy shows up at the wedding.”

I guess I’m still worried that there’s not enough action. Most of my novel consists of family members getting together and yelling at each other. It worked for a screenplay, but part of me is worried that that’s not enough for a novel. I should really stop reading fantasy books for a while and start reading the types of novels that I want to write. I see lots of YA lit fic in my future. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d greatly appreciate them. I think part of why I feel like my writing is horrible is because I keep comparing it to action-based books. I think that will be my goal this week: to read a book in the genre that I plan on writing. The fantasy books will help me when it comes time to rewrite Learning to Lie, but it won’t help me write most of the other novels that I have planned.

Sorry, Dresden and Vin. I think I’ll be putting you two away for a while.

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Posted on June 7, 2012, in CampNaNo, Planning, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. My two cents? Write the stories that are in you to write. If they turn out to be YA, go for it. If they aren’t, that’s okay too, as long as you write them. But maybe it means something if the books you choose to read are something other than what you expect yourself to write. Just some food for thought.

    Congrats on keeping on target and being realistic in your goals. Achievable is one of the most important things a goal should be. It can make you stretch to be more, but it’s useless if its entirely out of your grasp, once the context of your life is taken into account.

    Happy writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Don’t get me wrong – I’ve read a lot of YA and lit fic. I’ve just had a huge pile of fantasy books sitting on my to-read shelf (yes, I have a shelf dedicated solely to books I have yet to read), that those are the ones I’ve been reading lately.

      You’re right, though, that I should just write the stories and see what happens. I think I get too caught up with labels sometimes. I’m just more comfortable writing about characters’ thoughts than I am action scenes. Fantasy books require so much more creativity and thought. That’s part of why planning Learning to Lie is proving to be so difficult. I’m not used to dealing with so much plot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the advice and the words of encouragement!

  2. “Iโ€™m tired of planning novels that I donโ€™t write.”
    I agree with this one billion percent because I feel the exact same way. I have so many ideas I’ve jotted down or stories that are planned out with characters I like and scenes I think would work out well — but then I leave them as a PLAN and they never become a story.

    A few nights ago I made a list. I went through my notebooks and documents filled with writing ideas and I made a list of all of them that could be a potential book. Turns out, there’s a lot of them. Books I want to write, just swimming around in my imagination somewhere waiting for me to really take them on, to make them into something. Maybe you are the same way.

    Maybe your novel needs more subplots? I created a romance subplot, something else that’s a bit of a mystery (to the characters, not me), and just added in extra stuff like a job or school life so my book isn’t strictly about divorce even though that’s the overall plot. But a family trauma or hardship can affect ALL areas of life, and that’s a major point that I want to get across with what I’m writing.

    I don’t know if this helps you, but I hope it does!

    • That actually helps me a lot! Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ I do need more subplots. Now that I stop to think about it, most of my stories fail because I only focus on one thing. Thanks for the suggestion!

      And I really should make a list, too. I have so many ideas spread all over the place. I have ideas in OneNote. I have ideas in Word. I have ideas spread across at least five different notebooks. I should really take the time to stop and organize everything. I think that would help me a lot. I used to have each idea in a different notebook, but recently I’ve just been writing in whatever notebook was nearest to me. I should go back to writing in different books. It made everything so much easier.

      Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

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