It’s just past 12 here in Australia. Ten minutes before midnight, my mum dragged me out to help change a light bulb. I almost died, and not from electrocution. At 11:55pm, I validated my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo with trembling fingers.
I’ll be coming up with a proper post later but for now, I need to say this: that was one bumpy ride.
Let’s just say I was not the diligent hamster sprinting at her blur of a wheel. I’m actually bummed to confess that while I wrote every word of what I submitted in this month for Camp, not all of it was pure novel material. There was an awful period where I was sick and skipped a full week. In the midst of it, I started working on a plot bunny that had blindsided me. Terrible, terrible mistake. Still, I counted those words.
A lot of thinking (and probably white hairs) happened, and suddenly I was back on track for my initial novel. But I had dawdled too long and wouldn’t make the count if I were to write the novel itself. I think and write much slower when it comes to raw material. I kept at it, getting up early before uni and getting home first thing afterwards. I managed 2000 words yesterday. It’s my proudest moment this month. Still, I was over 8000 words from my target, with one day left. I knew I was being unorthodox, but I couldn’t bring myself to let it end that way. I have a lot of pride!
So today, I sprinted 8000 words of creative reflection in 4.5 hours. I wrote about my writing perspective and what I envisioned Project Ark (my WIP) to be. Then I dove into analysing the biggest flaws in the story idea, spending about 1000 words on each. World-building was a big disaster waiting to happen. While troubleshooting that (and troubleshoot I did, very hard), I concluded that my antagonist was actually a tree. Well. After that, I was obligated to spend another 5000 words analysing ‘troubled’ characters in attempts to make them more evil. So I did. While doing that, the focus on character development led me to realise I still couldn’t hear my main character’s voice properly. So the last 1000 words were spent listening to what he had to say and jotting it down (also changing light bulbs and whatnot).
I’m glad I wrote that reflection. I didn’t realise how much I needed to let my thoughts flow. My brain and fingers did that amazing stringing-ideas-together thing, drawing my story tighter. My only regret is that it feels like I cheated a narrow victory out of my goal for Camp. It was all creative material but not all of it was written as solid novel material. Still repenting. But right now, I can’t help feeling ecstatic.
One month ago, I set a goal of 31,000 words. One month later, I laughed at my word count.
It was 31,002.
I looked back at the document to check what those two words were, even though I already knew. They weren’t just random words. I had beamed to myself when I wrote them, just because with those two simple words I finally saw my main character properly. I decided to share them with you in its original glory, the inarticulate mess that is my stream of consciousness brainstorming. I wouldn’t have lasted half the month if it weren’t for you guys. You don’t know it but just by reading my first Camp post, you gave me the resolve to take those steps. They let me hit the ground running, still am after the drama. I want to thank you guys properly after I’ve gotten some sleep, but for now I hope a huge THANK YOU!!! will do :D
Check out that conveniently spoiler-free and hilariously generic sentence!
“He is a boy with a burden and a painful history, who has never forgotten how to cry and smile: he feels.”