Life after Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s been around half a month since Camp NaNoWriMo ended, and quite a lot has happened.

After 7 years of writing on it, and most of the work done during NaNoWriMo 2015 and last month’s Camp, I’ve finally managed to finish Second Chances. At 44,444 words, it’s my longest story yet, and I figure that after several edits, it’ll be even longer. But for now, I’m very happy about it and I’ll let it sit for a while before I begin to work on edits.

I’m still considering which story to work on during Camp in July (you can read more about the two stories here) as I’ve figured out some of the biggest plotholes I’ve had for Endless Love. Meanwhile, I feel a little worried and daunted about Forever Is Not Long Enough, what with the (possibly fictional) supernatural world and all the worldbuilding that entails. I’m hopeful, though, that I’ll figure something out in time. After all, there’s still a month and a half left! 🙂

One thing I regret is that I haven’t stuck to my plan on writing daily. Since writing “the end” for Second Chances – and even before that, actually! – I haven’t written much at all. The only thing that makes it better is that instead, I’ve been reading much more than before. I’m spending all my weekends and every free minute I have on week days with a book, and managed to read five (!) in the first week of May when I took two days off to have myself a long weekend. Granted, it’s not what I’d planned on doing, but I figure I should do something about the millions of e-books that I have, not to mention the fact that I haven’t read half the books on my bookshelf yet.

So that’s what’s been up with me, writing and reading-wise, so far. I’m not sure you’d want to know what happens in my personal life, haha.

Hope this month’s been going well for all of you!
E.

Camp NaNoWriMo, 2.0

 

I’m about to finish my third story with NaNo (I only have about four scenes left to write, but am dragging my feet since I kinda don’t want it to end) and that gives me a really awesome “I did it!” high. It also makes me go all “Oh my god, I LOVE writing, it’s the best freaking thing EVER!”

Which isn’t so bad, because as you might know, I haven’t been writing as much as I should (or at all, actually) since last November. I’ve wanted to use Camp as an opportunity to get myself back into writing and, more importantly, try to set up a writing schedule, even if that means I write just a couple hundred words a day.

That’s where my newest discovery comes in. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I only just now found out that there’s Camp in July! And now guess what I’ll be doing!

I don’t know whether it’s just the excitement of (almost) finishing a story, but I’m crazy motivated right now and already thinking of which story to work on. It’s a tie between two that each have their merits, so I figured, why not ask you guys?

I have the choice between a rewrite and a new story.

The rewrite is a story called Endless Love, that took me about a decade to finish. It’s still just a bunch of scenes in several documents, about 40K words in total, with a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies. The plot is pretty cheesy and dramatic (two high school sweethearts who meet again but have accumulated a lot of baggage in the years they haven’t seen each other) and it’s just a normal romance story that was pretty fun to write. I wouldn’t know from experience, because I’ve never rewritten/edited anything, but I feel (hope?) that it might be somewhat easy to do.

I’m also thinking about choosing Forever Is Not Long Enough, a completely new story. This one would be a little more difficult to write, since it’s a supernatural story, possibly set in the past or a fictional world. The plot would be something like:

Tal “died” when her boyfriend Channing went through his first werewolf transition and killed her; when they meet again, she decides to get her revenge by breaking his heart, but things become complicated when her feelings for him resurface and Jason, another vampire who claims he is her mate, reappears in her life determined to win her back.

Most of the story, including a tentative ending, is outlined, I just need to flesh out the antagonist and a couple of motives, but I think it’d be an interesting challenge.

See my dilemma? I don’t know whether I could pull off writing two stories like I did for NaNo 2014 (both were contemporary romance novels that didn’t need much research and/or building up a supernatural world) so just going with them both seems out of the question. But I really do like both ideas and can’t decide which one to choose.

I know you might not be able to tell me which might be easier for me to do or which idea I could handle working with. But maybe you could help me out this way:

Which of these stories would you rather like to read? (Not that I can promise that they’ll ever be available to other eyes …)

Thanks in advance!
E.

Camp NaNoWriMo, Week 1

You know how many words I’ve written for my Camp story so far? Zero.

I don’t even really feel bad about it, I just feel resigned about it all. I could name a lot of reasons why I just can’t seem to write, starting with the fact that I feel out of practice. I haven’t written anything since last November, although I guess that all my tweets since then could amount to a few hundred or thousand words. But I’ve realized that writing isn’t like riding a bike; it’s not possible to stop doing it for a long time, but easily pick it up again. I guess I’ve gotten so used to not writing, that I don’t know how to start again. Work has also chosen this month to be particularly annoying and overwhelming, and I can never work up enough energy to try and put the story into words.

The biggest reason, though, is that I think I bit off more than I can chew. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just jump straight back into writing after a hiatus of over four months, and I guess that’s particularly true for starting a new story. Granted, I’ve had it outlined for a while, but while I did start prepping for Camp in March, I didn’t do it enough. It also didn’t help that Devan decided he didn’t want to be a nice guy, meaning the original plot didn’t work anymore and I had to adjust it to reflect the change in him. My brain decided that this was too much, too complicated, too difficult, so here I am, almost a week into April, with nothing written.

I did consider stepping down, but honestly, that’s just giving up and I didn’t want to be a quitter. I do want to challenge myself again and use Camp as a stepping stone to start a writing routine. That means I can’t quit, so what I’ll be doing is work on my NaNoWriMo 2015 story instead. It’s not ideal and maybe not much of a challenge, but I figure I should start small. That’s better than not starting at all, right? I’ve got about 20% of the story left to write, plus a couple of scenes I skipped in the middle. My total word count was a bit short of 30.000 words, so I think I’ll attempt to hit 45K or finish, whichever comes first.

I hope your writing is going better than mine, and if you’re participating in Camp as well, good luck! To all the other writers: happy writing! 🙂

E.

My Camp project

It happened much sooner than I thought it would, because I literally just uploaded the blog post about my intention of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and that I probably won’t be able to decide on a project, but: I know which story to work on!

Based on when I created the file of notes, I’ve had this story since 2011. It’s one of those that I find myself thinking about sporadically; there’ll be nothing for a while and then suddenly, it’ll pop back up in my head, and I’ll have all these inspirations for scenes and such. I got as far as one chapter (that I’ve practically beaten to death by rewriting a million times) before I lost interest, so I guess Camp is a good way to give it another try.

The story I chose for Camp is Double the Trouble (I have to work on better, more original titles …) It’s about Sayre, who lets herself be talked into impersonating her twin sister Sadie, while Sadie is off to somewhere unknown. Sadie has a boyfriend, who wants to introduce her to his best friend, and unfortunately for Sayre, that friend happens to be Devan, her crush from university.

I’m going to use the rest of March to do some prepping, as I need to work out a few plot problems and get to know my characters. I also want to make my usual amateur book covers, because there’s just something about having one that makes me really happy 🙂 I’ll share any worthwhile progress here and on Twitter, so I hope to see you around!

Who else will be spending April in Camp? I’d love to know what you all will be working on!

Happy writing!
E.

Camp NaNoWriMo

I think I may be a glutton for punishment, because I’ve just decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo next month!

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Now you may ask what I’m doing, committing myself to this when I haven’t even finished my story for NaNoWriMo 2015, written anything since mid-November, and can barely even write a blog post or tweet something. And you’re right, I honestly might be crazy to try and I probably won’t get to whichever goal I set. But during last year’s NaNo, I realized something: It’s not really about the writing for me.

That’s not to say that writing isn’t important. After all, isn’t that the whole point of NaNo and the Camp? But rather than focusing on how many words I want to write next month, I want to make April more about socializing with other writers/participants. I think I did a pretty good job of it in November, considering how awkward I always feel with/around other people, and it was a lot of fun. But I haven’t really kept up with that in the past few months, and I really want to connect more, because I know there are so many other writers out there who could be such wonderful inspirations.

I haven’t yet decided whether to finish my NaNoWriMo 2015 story, Second Chances, as my Camp project or whether to start writing on one of my other story ideas. The problem with the latter would be about choosing which of the million ideas to pursue … But I’m hoping that if I begin the process now, I’ll be able to pick one (and prep!) in time for the madness.

Will you be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo as well? If yes, let me know your username on the site and/or on Twitter, so that I can follow you! 🙂

NaNoWriMo projects, Part 2

Disclaimer: The picture I used to make the cover with is not mine. I find all pictures by searching on Google or Tumblr (or whichever site I am directed to.) 

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After finishing Finding True Love about two weeks into NaNoWriMo 2014, I decided to write a second novel during the remaining weeks. It took a few days, including some frantic planning and outlining, but I finally had my next project: Courting a Mermaid. (Don’t judge, I named these when I was a teenager and haven’t managed to find new titles yet! :P)

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What Courting a Mermaid is about:

Grey falls in love with Lea while on break, but their relationship seems doomed due to disapproval of his family and the fact that she is a mermaid; while Grey returns to college, Lea decides to become human for him, but ends up with a broken heart when it appears that Grey has changed his mind about them and wants nothing to do with her; she is unwilling to give him another chance when they meet again.

This is one of the stories that I began a bit further down my writing path, and I think that I can actually see the difference in the way I wrote it. Granted, it was written last year, just like Finding True Love, but it really seems to me that there’s a bit more maturity to it that has nothing to do with the ages of Grey and Lea versus Alex and Lola.

Once again, how my characters meet doesn’t make much sense and is probably unrealistic and there’s so much to work on: I didn’t do a lot of worldbuilding because while Lea used to be a mermaid, she wasn’t anymore and so I didn’t spend much time on the fantasy part of this story. Grey was supposed to be an only child, but then suddenly got an older sister around halfway through the plot. She played a significant role in the latter half but yeah, she did suddenly appear from nowhere.

But overall, I think that with enough rewrites and edits, this could become a decent novel and as soon as I’ve gotten out of the writing funk I’ve been for the past few months (and finished my NaNoWriMo 2015 story!) I’ll start working on making this worth reading 🙂

Until then, I have an excerpt for you! It’s a scene in the beginning of the story, just after Grey and Lea have met again.

“It doesn’t matter, Grey. It doesn’t change anything.”

“I know.” He looked at her, hands raised like he was imploring her to understand. “I know it doesn’t change what happened or how you feel about me. I know it doesn’t change how I feel about you.” He paused, seemed to struggle with something but then went on, determination setting into his eyes and expression. “It doesn’t change that I love you, and I’d prove it to you, I’d make it all up to you if you’d just give me a chance.”

“How?” she asked and hated how shaky her voice was. She couldn’t let him draw her in again, saying all the right things and that he loved her. She couldn’t let him hurt her again. “How could you possibly make it up to me? Can you turn me back into a mermaid and give me back my family? Can you make me forget the past four years?”

“No, I can’t.” He moved so quickly, she didn’t have time to react or protest as he framed her face in his hands. “I can’t do that, but I’d do anything for you. Don’t you know? I’d give up my life for you.”

Don’t believe him, she warned herself. He’d made promises before, giving her hope, but he wouldn’t be able to keep them. She couldn’t trust him, no matter what he said. So she resolved to prove it to him. “If I ask you to step down from your position in your family business, if I ask you to turn your back on your family like I did, will you? If I tell you that I will only be with you on that one condition, will you choose me? Will you throw away everything you worked for, just to be with me?”

She had her answer when all he did was stare at her. She hadn’t actually meant any of it, hadn’t even considered being with him again under any circumstances, but it hurt nonetheless that he didn’t answer, couldn’t even pretend that she was more important to him than anything else.

It was that thought, that their love or whatever it was between them, was still so one-sided, so much more coming from her than from him, that finally brought on the tears.

“See?” she said with a teary smile. “You can’t even answer me. Once again, you promise you’ll do anything for me, but you won’t do what I did for you without any further thought.” She stepped out of his grip and closer to the door, ready to flee the room as soon as they were done talking. She knew she should have left earlier, before he dug up all the bad memories. “How many times more will you tell me things you won’t do when it comes down to it? How can I trust you, Grey, when you say things, promise me things, but you never follow through? How can you expect me to deal with that?”

She turned to leave, but he grabbed her arm. “Lea, wait. Just give me–”

“No, Grey.” Feeling the tears run down her face, she tore her arm out of his grip. “I don’t want to give you anything anymore. I’m done giving you everything and getting nothing in return. I’m done with you.”

NaNoWriMo projects, Part 1

Disclaimer: The picture I used to make the cover with is not mine. I find all pictures by searching on Google or Tumblr (or whichever site I am directed to.) 

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I’m very proud to have two finished first drafts and an almost finished one from my two NaNoWriMos. Granted, the ones from last year are nowhere near perfect and it’s going to take me a long time to edit them into something worth reading. But seeing as they were the first novels I’d ever finished in my whole writing life, they’re like my babies 🙂

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Finding True Love is Baby #1. I chose it because it was a high school romance and relatively easy, plus I figured I should get the teenage stories written before I forget what being a teenager was like and made my characters sound like old people hiding in the bodies of high school kids.

I have a story chart of all my stories, including names and ages of the main characters and a short sentence or two about what it’s about. Here’s the basic plot for Finding True Love:

Lola participates in a school exchange program to get away from her controlling parents but gains much more than just temporary freedom; Alex is surprised to find himself falling in love with a girl who is not his girlfriend and who believes in everything he doesn’t.

I’d first intended the basic plot to be about Lola being a foreign exchange student. It’s loosely inspired by my own experience as a foreign exchange student (except I didn’t have a cute baby host sister or a good-looking host brother around my age, haha!) But while doing NaNoPrep, writing my outline and all that, I realized that things could get very difficult with my initial idea. There’d be some sort of cultural difference, not to mention a long-distance relationship, just to mention a few. So, whether it makes sense or is even possible or not, I decided to have Lola’s and Alex’ schools to have a partnership thing, that would allow this story to happen. A very deliberate artistic license, I guess?

All in all, I had quite a lot of fun writing this story, although quite a few parts ended up being much different than I’d intended. Lola, for example, was not supposed to write diary entries, and Alex was supposed to be really obnoxious and annoying (at least to Lola) at first. But as characters often do, they had their own ideas and were very insistent.

There is a lot I have to work on here, especially with the characters. Alex and Lola feel very flat to me, and the secondary characters don’t really have much presence, except when I found them convenient. I have yet to actually read through my NaNoWriMo 2014 stories again, so I haven’t even begun thinking about the editing process. I’m actually not even sure if it’s necessary, because while I am immensely proud of this story, I don’t know if it’s something I’d want the world to read. I feel that even if I were to flesh out the characters, fill the plot holes and everything, the story still lacks substance. It’s basically just a fluff piece that I wrote as practice, and I guess I’m not passionate enough about it to want to spend the time editing and revising (sorry, Alex and Lola.)

After all, if I don’t believe in my story, how can I expect others to?