Saturday, August 1, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo (or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation)

I just did something crazy amazing.

I wrote a novel.
In 30 days.

You may have heard of NaNoWriMo (National Noveling Writing Month). The idea is to commit to writing a first draft of a novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. They also run Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, which is the same concept, but with a little more flexibility-- you set your word count goal.

I participated in July. Initially, my goal was 50,000 words. I had a run in with an angry neck that prevented me from doing much more than laying on the couch for two days, so I ended up adjusting my goal down a bit, to 45,000 words. I hit my word count mark on July 30th. I wrote the last scene of my manuscript on July 31st. I wrote a novel.

When I finished, I was shell-shocked. Still am, actually. I printed out the manuscript (about 80 single spaced pages) and held it in my hands, staring at it. What is this? Where did it come from? Did I just do that?

Yep. I wrote a novel. I can't tell you yet if it's any good. When you write a novel in thirty days, there is no going back, no rereading. You are constantly moving forward, writing the next scene. If you realize there is a plot problem, you either adjust the scene you are currently writing to make it work, or make a note for later. There is no going back and fixing. I honestly couldn't even tell you much of what I wrote.

Starting next week, I begin the task of editing. That will start with me reading my story. (I just said my story!) I am sure that there are significant issues. But, here's the thing. My gut says it's not garbage. So my plan is to edit. A lot. Then I will find some kind(ish) souls to read it. To be nicely brutally honest. And I will edit again. Then, perhaps, I will send my baby off into the world. We'll see.

Oh, there is one other, completely random thing. Every time I see the words Camp NaNoWriMo, the theme song for the old Nickelodeon song "Salute Your Shorts" pops into my head. Feel free to sing along:

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