Camp Nano week one

It’s day seven, week one is over, and we should all be a quarter of the way to our goals. How are you doing? Smashing it already? Slowly building up to a last minute sprint?

As I’m off to sunny Turkey tomorrow for a week of eating, drinking and reading, I’ve been overshooting my daily word goals (1,167 per day) to try and stay a week ahead of target. Rather than leave it to the last week to catch up, I wanted to prepare in advance, allowing for any unforeseen circumstances that might prevent me from smashing out 20k words in the second half of the month. (In November, I started strong and tailed off, ending up with only 35k words, so I wanted to take advantage of my initial focus this time.)

I’m working on my rewrites of The Fair Queen, which I wrote most of the first draft for during last November’s NaNoWriMo. I had a head start because I was already part of the way through draft two, meaning that if I reach my target goal of 35k I should have draft two finished by the end of April. That means it’ll be time to send it out to beta readers before the next stage of editing!

If you’re up for beta reading a YA fantasy which is a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia, The Remnant Chronicles and Tamora Pierce’s Immortals, then send me an email!

Camp Nano week one

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Daily Stats

1st – 1,876

2nd – 2,601 | total: 4,477

3rd – 1,698 | total: 6,175

4th – 530 | total: 6,705

5th – 1,441 | total: 8,146

6th – 1,115  total: 9,261

7th – 0 (what with work, packing for holiday, and scheduling blogs I haven’t had a spare minute to write today! Maybe I’ll churn out a few words before bed, wish me luck!

Week One Total: 9,261

How has your first week of Camp Nano gone? What are you working on? Let me know in the comments!

Lyndsey

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Camp Nano week one stats Lyndsey's Book Blog

Camp NaNoWriMo

I got the idea for my novel last summer and spent most of August researching, plotting and outlining my story. I finally sat down and started writing in September and by Nov I had all of 15k words. Yes, I’m that fast.

Fortunately, in October, I discovered NaNoWriMo. I spent a couple of weeks reworking my outline and creating a list of 30 scenes I needed, in chronological order, to prepare for 30 days of writing 1,667 words per day in November.

On Nov 1st, I set to work and by Dec, although I didn’t win, I had written 35k words, giving me a total of 50k. I continued writing my first draft in Dec and Jan, and finally finished on 69k at the end of Jan.

After those few months of hard work (let’s not forget, this is my first ever novel, 69k words is the most I have ever written!) I took a couple of weeks off to recuperate and get some distance. And then, in Feb I started on draft two.

I’m now 35k words in, and I’m adding and removing characters and storylines, rewording almost every sentence and changing scenes and chapters around. Basically, it’s a lot of hard work and it’s taking longer than expected.

Camp Nanowrimo

So, I’ve decided to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo, which takes place in April, and is more tailored towards personal goals. E.g. If you want to write a new draft, you can, and you can choose your own target word count. If you want to revise the draft you wrote in Nov, you can, and you can decide on a word count, number of hours, lines etc. The sky is your oyster, or whatever.

Personally, I’ll be continuing to work on my rewrites in the hopes that I can finish draft two by May. I’d like to get my MS handed out to beta readers for a couple of months this summer before working on their comments and finally sending it out to query towards the end of the year!

When you sign up to Camp Nano, you fill in your camper profile, and your project details, and then you can either choose to join a cabin with your writer friends, or be automatically assigned to a cabin based on your shared interests. I’m in a couple of writing groups on Facebook (Your Write Dream by Kristen Kieffer, and Edit & Repeat by Zoe Ashwood) and everyone has been talking about Camp and discussing cabins, but I’m going to wait and see where they allocate me. Hopefully, I’ll be put in a cabin with other YA fantasy writers working on rewrites! *Edit* I’ve now joined a cabin with some other writers from the Edit & Repeat group on Facebook! So excited for April 1st now. 

So, are you thinking about signing up for Camp? If you’ve never taken part in Nano, it’s a really good way to ease yourself in to writing goals and word count targets – you get to choose your own in April, unlike November. Add me as a buddy! I’m lyndleloo (same on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!).

 

See you at Camp,

Lyndsey

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Plotter vs. Pantser

First things first, I finished my first draft this week!! *does a little dance*

It’s around 70k words right now, and I’ve got plenty of notes about scenes I want to add, remove and rewrite, so who knows how long it will be in the end!

On that note, I thought I’d look at the pros and cons of being a plotter vs. a pantser today.

 

plotter-vs-pantser

 

New to the terms? A plotter is someone who plots their novel out before writing it. A pantser is someone who “flies by the seat of their pants”.

I’ll be honest, I’m a card-carrying plotter, so this blog may be slightly biased, but I can definitely appreciate the creativity and freedom afforded by pantsing. It’s just not for me.

And that’s OK!

Both methods have pros and cons, not least because everyone is different. What works for one may not work for another.

That’s the beauty of art, it’s completely subjective.

So, whether you spend longer outlining your novels than you do writing them, or you sit down with a pen and notepad and just start scribbling, you might learn something from your creative counterparts that could help you improve your craft.

Let’s look at plotters…

 

plotter-vs-pantser-1

 

There are as many different kinds of plotter as there are writers in the world, so don’t worry if you don’t identify with every word here.

Plotters tend to have an idea of what they are going to write before they start. Whether that’s just a broad concept of theme, a few character traits and maybe a general idea of setting, or a Filofax full of notes, character profiles and a scene by scene outline.

I only started writing seriously last year, and I read a lot of blogs and articles about novel writing before I sat down at my laptop to start chapter one. Mainly by Kristen Kieffer of She’s Novel, Faye Kirwin of Writerology and Christine Frazier of Better Novel Project. I learned a lot about writing in general, and picked up some brilliant tips for crafting a novel that readers will love.

I had an idea of what I wanted to write – I love YA fantasy and knew that was going to be the genre for my first novel (I’ve toyed with making it Middle Grade while writing, but decided against it). I also had a setting in mind – Sherwood Forest, or a fictionalised version, as I live nearby – and a vague idea of plot. I wanted my protagonist to be a teenage girl who discovers a hidden, magical world and learns about her true self over the course of the book.

So, with these things in mind, and a Word doc full of notes and snippets of potential scenes, I sat down to write.

I wrote about 15,000 words in September and October, and then I discovered NaNoWriMo. I stumbled upon the term on Twitter and Googled it, and I’m so glad I did. I decided to join in, knowing that I wasn’t exactly speeding through my first draft at this rate.

In preparation for my first NaNo, I read a bunch of blogs on how to get the most out of it. The one that helped me the most was from Better Novel Project – Day-by-day NaNoWriMo outline: your 30 day cheatsheet. Essentially, this is a list of thirty scenes that you need for your novel, a sort of skeleton framework that you then complete with your own ideas and plot points.

This is the single most helpful idea that I have come across since starting writing. I didn’t follow the framework religiously, but creating a list of thirty scenes I knew I needed to write meant that I always had something to write about during November. I never struggled with where to take the story next, and when I wasn’t feeling inspired I could skip ahead to a different scene.

This level of structure and discipline really worked for me. It’s not for everyone, but I intend to do something similar every time I plot a novel, NaNoWriMo or not. Having a spreadsheet of scenes worked better for me than having a list of events for each chapter or act. I need a more detailed plan with key plot points laid out in order – I can always insert subplots and rearrange the order at a later date.


So, what are the pros for plotters?

  • You know where your story is ultimately headed and are less likely to veer off track
  • Your characters are unlikely to behave in unexpected, contradictory ways
  • You won’t struggle for something to write (goodbye, writer’s block!)
  • You know what your next scene/plot point is and you just need to figure out how to get there
  • You’re left with a framework that will allow you to go back and add scenes and subplots with ease
  • You’ll probably finish the book before your pantser friends (not including the time you spent outlining!)

Cons?

  • You’re not as free to make major changes whilst writing, or risk making your whole outline irrelevant
  • When the muse strikes, you might fight it rather than let it flow through you
  • If a new scene or character presents themselves you need to figure out where they fit into your plan
  • Lots of writers start writing without any idea of how the story will conclude, they like the freedom and excitement of seeing where the story takes them – plotting sort of ruins that
  • Plotting can make it difficult to be creative, many writers feel too restricted by a rigid outline

Any other pros or cons for being a plotter? Leave them in the comments!

Now, let’s take a look at pantsers…

plotter-vs-pantser-2

Ah, pantsers. You’re much braver than I!

Pantsers range from those with a vague idea of where they want the story to go, to those who start with only a blank page and an open mind.

The main risk with pantsing is writer’s block. Without an outline, it can be easy to lose momentum and struggle with where to take your characters and their stories.

On the other hand, the freedom to write whatever you want must be fantastic for many creatives. With no rules and no restrictions, some incredible and individual works of art can be created.


What are the pros of being a pantser?

  • Freedom to write whatever, whenever, and wherever you like (within the story that is, please don’t write while driving!)
  • Flexibility – don’t like a character? Kill them. Don’t like where you plot is going? Change it.
  • Some of the best ideas have come out of the random scribblings of a writer just playing around, trying something new or breaking the rules
  • If freewriting or writing sprints help you to get into the right mindset for writing, pantsing may just be for you!

And cons?

  • Writer’s block is every writer’s worst nightmare, and pantsers are more likely to be struck down by it as they don’t have a plan to follow
  • Without an outline, it can be easy to get off track and wind up with a long and rambling middle section that will need a lot of editing to tighten up
  • Your characters may start acting ‘out of character’ if you don’t decide beforehand on their personalities, backgrounds and motivations
  • Writing about ancient Egyptian Gods? Corruption in local flower competitions? You’re going to have a lot of research to do when you get to draft number two! Make one too many mistakes in your assumptions and your entire plot could wind up on the cutting room floor.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or a ‘plantser’? What are the pros and cons of your method? Dish the dirt in the comments!

 

Lyndsey

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