The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

My 2nd attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo

on July 14, 2013

So, it turns out that I haven’t used this blog at all, despite all my good intentions. But the important thing is that I have been writing, and I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve achieved so far.

My real saviour has been this year’s July Camp NaNoWriMo (like the official November National Novel Writing Month, but erm… in July). I attempted to start writing a different novel back in the April Camp, but failed abysmally. This was because I came up with a rubbish idea the day before it kicked off, and I just pantsed my way through the first week, before giving up because I hated my story so damn much. I had no clue where the plot was going (because I hadn’t done ANY planning whatsoever), and the characters were flat, and basically all acted like clones of one another. The main problem though, was that I really wanted to be telling a different story… one I wasn’t brave enough to start. 

The novel I’m really passionate about (the one I’m writing now), is something I started years ago, back when I was 17. I’m 22 now, so it’s been a long time coming. During sixth form I wrote about 60,000 words, and I was absolutely obsessed with my characters. Their lives were more real to me than my own. But then I went off to university and things got exciting, and life got in the way.

Ever since I moved back home, I’ve been trying to go back to it, but finding it near impossible to even look at. I’ve read through everything I wrote before and it makes me cringe, because it’s just so angsty and over-the-top. You can definitely tell it’s written by a seventeen year old, and although it’s a YA novel, I’m not sure that’s such a good thing… The voice isn’t too far off the mark, but there’s no structure at all. It’s basically just a big outpouring of emotion; it sounds like me, whining.

I think one of the major problems was that before, I wrote random bits here and there; I would keep revisiting the exciting bits, trying to improve them, so much so that I never got any of the story down into a proper order. I’ve since discovered, through writing short stories and essays at university, that I’m somebody who cannot structure well unless I start from the beginning and keep going until the bitter end! I’m also a chronic perfectionist, and it hinders rather than helps me most of the time.

For the past year or so, I’ve been trying out a bunch of different ways of re-structuring the novel, but none of them have seemed right. So I made the decision to do a total rewrite, starting from 1st July. And Camp NaNoWriMo is working so well for me this time around. I’m writing something I’m genuinely passionate about, from start to finish. I’m turning off my inner editor and just telling the story as it happens. I’m structuring well, because I’m not getting carried away and jumping to later scenes, telling random bits of the story all over the place. And I’m making myself do this, because I’m setting myself manageable goals each day – goals that I can work around, so that life won’t get in the way.

Like I said, I don’t want to jinx anything, but right now I’m on track, and I still love what I’m doing, and that can only be a good thing… 🙂


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