Wednesday 30 July 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 25: “CampNaNoWriMo - Day 30”

Just a mere twenty four hours to go and I’m finally into the swing of things now. The finishing line is in sight, both in terms of deadline and word target.

I’m gonna make it!


It’s been a good burst towards the finish despite still having a couple of non-writing days. I not only managed three days in a row at 1000+ but that included a weekend, an actual weekend, with writing happening.

So the novella is coming along nicely. Each session still ends with me wanting to change stuff with the overall plot but it’s more about setting up the world so that I can return in future stories. It needs rules and it’s only been in the writing that I've seen what does and doesn’t work with the magic system I’ll be using based around the tattoos.

Something interesting happened with one of the characters a few days ago. I’ll admit he was a little generic when it comes to villainy but I hadn’t really planned much for him (see ‘Too Many Villains’ from an earlier post). He’s not really mentioned at all throughout and then he turns up right in the middle of a critical scene at the end of the story. I just started writing him with no real plan (reckless, I agree) and he suddenly became this important role that is very central to the mythology, a mythology I didn’t even realise was there. I think it works to expand the world very suddenly for Julie. This guy turns up and shows what a real threat can do. He pretty much sledge hammers the one scene he’s in but in a good way.

I’m looking forward to finishing it now (hopefully tonight).

DAY 23 – 585 words

After last week’s blog I hung about and managed to just finish up Chapter 12: Proof. I’d started this scene with Julie talking about the tattoo to Eleanor but she was ready to speak to her friend about the strange side effects she was experiencing. I ended it a little forcefully with her convincing Eleanor to take part in a demonstration but it’s messy and needs a heavy rewrite.

DAY 26 – 1855 words

A good nights writing. Stayed up a little late and got to work on Interlude: History part 2. This is a flashback to Kirsty and tells how her path crossed Michaels once more. Now I know some people hate flashbacks but I think these need to be in the novella. In fact, while going over my notes this evening I’ve actually decided to move it slightly and have it close the story, that way the ‘History’ parts (originally three but now two) will bookend the main story. There’s more to tell as well so I think I follow on with the same method on the next book.

Once this was done I got started on Chapter 13: Answers. It’s now that Julie confronts Michael and finds out exactly what he’s done to her and why.

DAY 27 – 1443 words

Another great day of writing. I finished Chapter 13: Answers with the arrival of the stranger, the man who has been tracking Michael since the beginning. He wants to hurt Michael for the wrongs he’s done and only Julie is around to stop someone getting hurt.

DAY 28 – 1573 words

On a roll with this writing lark. Another late night; tired but worth it if there are words on the page and 20,000 is closer. This was the big scene, the finale, the violent revelation. It was exhausting but I’m really happy with Chapter 14: Intruder. I think it will require the least amount of chopping when I start the next edit and it’s what will now help shape everything that comes before it. This is where our mystery character shows up and it the random backstory I produced for him that solidifies the backstory to the Tattoo plot. This is the chapter where most stuff is finally explained to the reader.

DAY 29 – 631 words

Pub quiz night again so had to cram in some writing where I could. Started Chapter 15: Ink which sees someone’s life hanging in the balance and a tough choice needing to be made. I thought this chapter would be the wrapping up of loose ends before leading into a nice quiet, final chapter to end with but unfortunately my brain said NO! So, while everything seems happy and peaceful up to the point where I finished last night, it’s all going to change once I’ve finished this blog post. I’m going to spring a little surprise on our characters. Hell, I was surprised myself but I think it’s a much better ending now.

Can you say cliff hanger?


After no mentions for BAYWITCH in last week’s Flash! Friday, my wife said she didn’t like that it made me sad whilst my mother said that I shouldn’t expect to get mentioned every week.

Mentioned? I’m trying to be a better writer. I want to improve, I want to be known, and I want to win! You hear that Flash! Friday. I’m coming for you!!!

(please note that this is just a dramatic, empty threat. It’s a known fact the creators of Flash! Friday are on good terms with dragons and no one should mess with dragons).

But seriously, BAYWITCH (big thanks to my awesome wife for coming up with that title) didn’t do as well as I thought and it came off the back of disappointment that my 1000 word short, WE WERE FRIENDS ONCE, AND YOUNG also didn’t make the shortlist of the Dog Days of Summer competition.

I took that one harder because I immediately realised my mistakes. With other shorts that haven’t won I’ve struggled to see what was wrong and assumed it was read by a judge that it just didn’t click with. But with WE WERE FRIENDS I knew deep down that the story itself was broken and that was only my fault.

It seems a weakness I have is my love of the fantastical. This is fine in my longer works and I won’t stop writing the stuff I love to read. But for short words and especially Flash Fiction, it can take up a lot of room trying to jam in something like the supernatural or super heroes, genres that have rules to work in a story. Rules need explaining to the reader and this costs precious word count.

So I knew that I should have left out the twist ending with the army science experiment that created a super soldier who fights on the beaches of Normandy (seriously, that’s what I wrote). I should have just left it as the story of friendship that is shattered by war, something emotional and dramatic.
Lesson learned.

On a more positive note, a big shout out to everyone that took part in the Dog Days competition. It was a real pleasure to read your work and, as with Flash! Friday, it’s nice to see the extreme diversity on show that all comes from the same prompt.

Writers are awesome.


What more can I say. It’s a safe bet that I’m going to purchase this once CampNaNo is over. I’ve loved working with it and, although it hasn’t set my writing world on fire, I think there’s a lot more under the hood that I’m going to love discovering. It really is a useful writing tool and I will take anything that helps me produce work and put it out into the world.

And now I must go. I have 1207 words left to write on this month’s CampNaNoWriMo entry and I can’t wait to update my word count to be declared ‘winner’!

Just a quick big thanks to the lovely people who have left me comments on my Dog Days of Summer entry. Some really nice things were said that boosted my confidence and I’m extremely grateful for those that took their time to not only read my story but write about it too.

In fact it’s not just that one story but anything that I have written, be it my Flash! Friday entries, my blog posts or my short stories on Wattpad. I’m grateful that anyone would take time to read my work and love getting feedback, positive and negative.

After all, I’m still learning here and all comments are welcome.

See you in seven.

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