Wednesday 18 June 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 19: “Off to Camp NaNoWriMo”

Something I mention often on this blog is the annual writing event that is NaNoWriMo. Since I first took part back in 2007 it has been one of the biggest parts of my writing. It really is when I’m at my most creative and productive. I have four 1st drafts that I don’t think would exist in any form without NaNo.

I’m coming to the part of my Uncanny Tales project where I’m ready for feedback. In a few weeks I’ll be sending drafts to my beta readers as well as posting the stories on Wattpad and here on the blog.

While the stories are out there (hopefully being enjoyed and critiqued in equal measure) I want to get on with something else, something bigger than a short story but not the volume of a novel.

I recently discovered that NaNoWriMo runs two other events through the year called Camp NaNoWriMo. Taking place in April and July, it’s almost exactly the same with just a couple of differences, the main one being the word count. Unlike November’s 50,000 words, Camp NaNo allows you to pick your own word target.

I’ve had an idea for about a year now that was not going to make it as a novel but offered more to explore than I could fit in a short story. With that in mind I’ve decided to take a stab at this novella for July’s Camp NaNo.

Julie Barrett is trapped in an abusive relationship. While her boyfriend is away for the weekend, Julie’s best (and only) friend convinces her to get a tattoo. But the tattooist they go to is no normal artist and, upon seeing the evidence of Julie’s predicament, he gives her a tattoo surging with magical potential, a tattoo that will change Julie’s life forever.

I’m aiming to get it to 20,000 words which should be easily doable. It might even go about 10,000 over. The main reason I want to do this is because, over the last few months I’ve mostly been writing up and editing existing stories. This will be like a break where I can get to write something fresh, recharge my creative batteries. It works out nicely for where I am with the Uncanny Tales project too.

So, for the month of July I’ll be aiming to write a minimum of 650 words a day. I know it doesn’t seem much but, unlike last year’s NaNo, I won’t be able to write everyday so I’m planning to smash the word limit on some days to balance out others.

And that’s not all I’ll be doing in July. I’m also going to be trying out Scrivener, a writing program that is designed around writers and, according to the hype, makes things a hell of a lot easier. It seems especially useful for indie writers:

  • Everything is in one file in one program.
  • It has a corkboard where note cards and pictures can be placed; great for the planning stages.
  • It allows you to move chapters around with ease. You simply drag the file where you want to go and the novel is reordered.
  • Formatting seems so much easier. A lot is done at the end of the writing process like chapter heading, page numbers and front matter.
  • You can set your own word targets.
  • It compiles and exports your document in a number of different formats. This allows you to knock out a  version of your novel for Kindle, Kobo, i-books or Print-on-Demand.
  • And, it uses snapshots and automatic backups so the chances of losing your work are greatly minimised.
I’ve heard a lot about Scrivener through podcasts and blogs and I’ve been itching to try it. In fact, from what I’ve seen and heard I’m 99% sure I’m going to end up buying it. However, I’m going to be sensible and, before purchasing the final product, I’m going to give the 30 day trial a go. I figure that NaNo is the perfect opportunity to try this out; 30 day trial for a one month deadline.

So as well as updating you with the progress of my novella each week throughout July I will also be reviewing Scrivener as I go, pointing out what impresses me, whether it meets my expectations and what makes it so talked about by the many writers I follow.

I’m off now to get two short stories tidied up as well as get some planning done for TATTOO. If any of you are taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo then let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@BrianSCreek). It will be nice to tag along with some fellow writers and keep each other on track.

Next week I’ll be talking about two great books I read on the subject of self-publishing. They’ve been great at getting me ready for what comes next and I think everyone who plans on publishing their own stuff should definitely take a look at these.

Also, more Flash!Friday coming in two days. Hope you’re enjoying reading them as I’m really enjoying writing them. It’s a nice way to end the week.

And finally, this time next week issue 250 of SFX magazine is out on newsstands (UK only, I think). I’m guessing that if I had won the Zombie short story competition (with my entry CONDOLENCE) then I would have heard something by now. Nevertheless I’m looking forward to reading the winning effort and anything else they publish about the event. I will also be posting my entry here and on Wattpad if it is not included in the magazine for you great folks to take a gander at.

See you in seven.  

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