Camp Nanowrimo, the last couple of days

Okay, so the month is almost over, which means that Camp Nanowrimo is almost over.

Writing is something which I’ve been doing for years. I’m always on th look out for ways to improve my skills. It’s strange how something which I love to do so much, can be so frustrating at the same time. I guess – no let me rephrase that, I’m sure that everyone who writes knows what I’m talking about.

Writing stories (probably any type of writing) can be frustrating as hell. It’s all about choosing the right tone, the perfect words for whatever it is you want to tell the person who will ultimately read it. No matter what you write – unless it’s your personal diary – you want someone else to read it. If that is not what you want to do with the story why even bother writing it in the first place.

You have a story you want to tel or a topic you want to write an article about and I there are a million ways to do that. And also a million different ways to go about it. What works for me might not work for someone else. Every story line you think of  but you can mold it into any type of story you like.

The reason why my writing suddenly has been going so well is simple. I was reading some articles about writing when I came across one which really grabbed my attention. It was an article written by John August way back in 2007 on his blog The article I’m talking about is the one called ‘How to write a scene in 11 steps’. It’s really helpful and since I had some trouble keeping things interesting my attention was grabbed and I wanted to know what these 11 steps were. And see if I would be able to use them as well and improve my writing.

I came across this article this past Sunday and after I read it I immediately started using it. I have been using it to go over the scenes which I had already written. Trying to figure out what I can do to improve on them by simply answering the questions. As soon as I started working on the old scenes I realized that I could still improve a lot on them. It’s really simple.

You follow the steps and try to answer the questions you’re being asked. You don’t have to write elaborated answers. It kind of depends on the question. In my opinion these questions really help especially because it requires you to think outside of the box and sometimes that might help. I have already figured out some things which I want to change about the scenes that I have already written. And I am sure that it will make them that much more interesting because it adds some extra conflict to the beginning of the book and that in turn will make the story less dull.

My absolute favorite question is the one where you are being asked to write the most surprising thing that could happen in the scene. Question one is of course the one where you are asked what you want to happen, by the time you reach the fifth question you already know the what, where and the who. And the most important thing, whether or not this scene could be omitted. The most important things are already answered and then it’s followed by the one that asks you to think outside of the box.

And for me that certainly was really what I was struggling with, that my story was too mundane so thinking outside of the box is really helping me. I had never thought of it like that before. I just went through the motions of writing the story I wanted to write but one little scene can of course have the biggest impact you can imagine if it is well executed.

Now I know that this might not work for everyone and that it is a lot of extra work but if it makes my story better in the end it’s definitively worth the time I’m putting into it now. Besides that I do think that it will also make the actual writing process go faster since I now have a better idea and understanding of what it is that I really want. Where I want my story to go and what it is that I want to tell in the process. Also there is the fact that there is still nothing set in stone so I can still change every aspect of my story.

Also answering these simple questions will help you keep better track of your characters since you are also asked who’s in what scene. I know that continuity is one of my biggest pet peeves and at the same time also something I – like a lot of writers – struggle with. I hate it when the continuity in television shows, movies or books doesn’t make sense. Honestly it really bothers me and at the same time I have also experienced while I was writing how hard it can be to actually keep track of everyone.

Especially if you have an elaborated cast like for instance the cast of Game of Thrones, I have no idea how anyone can keep track of that many extremely well written and amazingly executed characters and story lines.

Anyway the article really helped me to up my word count over the last few days and now I’m actually in the home stretch of reaching my 10 000 words. I can do it. I still have tonight and tomorrow … and about 1800 words to go. That’s doable.

How are you doing? In the homestretch as well or did you already reach your goal? And is Camp Nanowrimo something you want to do again in the future?


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