Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo

So it’s almost July again.

And you know what July means! That’s right, it’s Camp NaNoWriMo time. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Clever, right? The proper NaNoWriMo is held in November, where a bunch of crazy writers decide they’re going to write a novel in a month (well, 50,000 words of one). Camp NaNo is the same, except with less participants, and it’s more informal in the amount of words you should write.

Last year I participated in the July Camp NaNoWriMo at the very last minute. It was on the 1st of July that I decided, hey, I was going to write this thing anyway, might as well do it quickly! That’s when I wrote the first draft of The Daisy List – about 60,000 words of awful writing within the space of 31 days. I still haven’t finished the second draft of The Daisy List, but I’m getting there!

A quick rundown of what happens during any NaNo period: 

Day 1. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING I CANNOT WAIT TO START WRITING THIS STORY.

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Day 2. Still excited.

Day 5. Still feeling pretty good.

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Day 15. *sobbing* I don’t know what to write anymoooooore….I’ve run out of ideas….I’m a failure…*wails*

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Day 25. I don’t even care anymore. I just want to finish this story.

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Day 30. Almost…there…

Day 31. I HATE WRITING WHY DID I EVER THINK I COULD DO THIS.

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Day 1 of the new month.

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But seriously, I have three tips.

1) Don’t edit. Seriously, just don’t. It’s going to be awful, because it’s a first draft. Just smash that keyboard and keep going.

2) Plan something. If you don’t have any idea what you’re going to be writing, it’ll be REALLY hard to get all the way through NaNoWriMo. Even if you’re a pantser, have some idea of where you’re headed.

3) Don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if you don’t get to your goal, realise that life sometimes gets in the way – and besides, you’ve still got more words than you started with!

I’ll be writing Wanderland, my Alice in Wonderland retelling (EEEEK SO EXCITED TO START). I’ve still got to write my scene-by-scene outline, which I will not follow at all, but is always really useful. Plotting a fantasy is so much harder than contemporary, that’s for sure! But it’s coming along well. Do you want to hear some of the setting names? DO YOU? Well, you don’t have a choice. So basically it goes through all the colours.

Red – MADDENHEART

Orange – TRAMAUTUMN

Yellow: SOLSABBIA

Green: EDENJARD

Blue: LAMMENTEAR

Purple: AMENERO

Pink: VALENDUSK

(lots of Google translate was used. I also enlisted the help of my sister to ask if she could pronounce the names. They changed a lot when I found out most of them were un-pronouncable. What do you think of these ones?)

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If you are, good luck! Do you have any tips? Questions? GIFs that express NaNoWriMo perfectly?

Top Ten Things About Being a Teen Writer

Recently I updated my blog to include a page on my writing. Come and check it out!

There’s one thing in common with all those ongoing projects: all of them have been written, or thought of, in my teens. And even though there are disadvantages to being a teen author (like people not taking you seriously) there are many advantages as well:

1) It’s always good to start early

And by this I don’t mean mornings. Here’s my opinion of mornings:

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If you like writing in the morning, though, more power to you. What I’m saying is that we have SO many years to perfect our craft, us teen writers – starting early is always going to be an advantage.

2) We’re experiencing it right now

Most of you, I’m guessing, write YA or MG. And because we’re teens, we don’t have to think back – we have everything accessible to us! We talk to other teens every day, and even if nothing we write as teens gets published, we can read it back and go, yeah, that’s what it was like.

3) It’s a really cheap hobby

You don’t have to pay to write stories, unlike sports or video-gaming (reading, however, is another matter entirely). Except emotionally when you have NO CHOICE but to kill a character but you love that character so much but…

ahem. Carrying on.

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4) Things that happen to you get absorbed into your novels

For example, the Irish accents I’m doing at school (have I said it enough yet? When people get sick of it I’ll take it as a divine sign to stop). Bits and pieces from your teen life will make it into your writing, and enrich it as a result.

5) No pressure!

Most of you aren’t writing as a profession yet, so you can have a bit of a partay with it.

Dancing GIFS

(I love minions)

6) It uses valuable maths time

Except not anymore, since I dropped maths. But seriously, if you don’t like a class, daydreaming about stories is a great way to get out of it.

7) It helps in classes you actually like!

For example, English. And drama. And legal studies. And society and culture. And religion. And music.

Geez, it helps with all my subjects.

High Five GIFS

Go writing! I mean, seriously, writing is useful for so many things. And creative writing helps with problem solving skills, and builds dedication, and requires a LOT of work. I’ve learnt so much as a writer that helps me with other aspects of life.

8) You get to meet awesome online people

For example, my critique partner Cait *waves to Cait* I wouldn’t have met so many amazing people if not for being a writer, and as a teen, I think it’s even easier to form these sorts of friendships.

9) You can use GIFs without people getting all snooty

I don’t even need to explain this one.

And finally…

10) Voice!

This follows on a bit from one of my previous points, but your voice, even if it’s just finding itself, is going to be an authentic teen voice, because you ARE a teen.

So congrats, teen writers, on being awesome. Whatever anyone says, teens CAN be good writers. It just takes hard work and lots of gifs.

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Writer Nazis

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Today I decided to write a post on Writer Nazis. You know the ones. They have blogs on the internet and they type with furious-ness, saying YOU MUST NOT DO THESE THINGS EVER.

Sometimes they’re right. But most of the time, they’re wrong. I’m going to attempt to debunk some of the YOU MUST NOT DO THESE THINGS EVER ideas.

1) You must not use exclamation marks!!!!!!!! Ever!!!! Which begs the question: why the hell do we HAVE exclamation marks if we’re not allowed to use them? Sure, don’t use them for every sentence. But I saw this ridiculous post where a writer said “there must be no more than one exclamation mark per 50 pages.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was the idea – and I think it’s ridiculous. Sure, it’s important that you describe what’s happening. But an exclamation mark can help with that.

2) NEVER use adverbs willingly (see what I did there?). I admit that I fall foul of this one a lot – in the first draft stages, those adverbs just waltz on out. How rude of them. Yes, I think that it’s best to steer clear of adverbs wherever possible. However, it’s preposterous to suggest that we can NEVER USE THEM EVER. Again: why would they be there? Use them sparingly, but don’t abandon them entirely. I am actually the master of adverbs.

3) NEVER use words for said other than said. This is not the worst advice, but it does (AGAIN) have its pitfalls. Yes, you should let your description show people how your character said a certain thing. Yes, using words other than said make it more noticeable and can bring your reader out of the story. Words like “stated” and “questioned” really annoy me when I find them in books (and I find them more frequently than I’d like to). That said, they’re okay to use in variation.

 

Those are my three debunked writing tips for now. I might add some more in a later post. Keep on writing, writers!

NaNoWriMo Journey: Day Six

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So today was November sixth, and apart from drawing this magnificent…thing (it was maths, I was bored…shoot me) I also wrote more than 5,000 words.

Which brings me to a grand total of: 34,101 words. And people say NaNoWriMo is hard.

Disclaimer: It is hard. I’m just bragging.

It’s been amazingly fun, and today I feel justified in even giving out a few hints.

1) Participate in word wars. Apart from bringing out your competitive side, word wars tend to make you write faster – because there’s another person competing, you can disappoint them as well as yourself.

2) Print out each chapter as you write it. When you see in real life how much you’ve written, it really will surprise you – or at least, it surprised me. That’s a LOT of paper.

3) Use the NaNoWriMo site to update your word count. This is really helpful and motivates you to keep going with your novel.

4) Stop at a bit where you WANT TO KEEP WRITING. I actually cannot stress this enough. It’s like reading a book and stopping at a cliff-hanger – you want to read more. Same applies to writing, and in the morning when you come back to it, you WANT to.

So, those are the tips from a loony teen writer. Share your own if you want, or tell me how you’re going 🙂