Camp Nanowrimo, the final day

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Yes, here it is! The final day of Camp Nanowrimo the April edition has passed by faster than I expected. And that is reason enough to make another blog post about my writing efforts this past month. There are some questions which have been playing on my mind these past couple of days.

Was Camp everything I hoped for it to be? Did I meet my goal? Am I happy with the results? What could I have done to improve my game? And what’s next? All legitimate questions at the end of a month which was supposed to be full of writing, plotting, character builds and so much more. So let me take some time to answer them one by one.

First of all I want to do a shout-out to my Nano-friends, we were in a Cabin together and even though I might not have reached my goal our group did reach the combined amount of words we’d pledged to write this month.

Was Camp everything I hoped for it to be?

Well, I certainly wrote more than I did in previous months, so in that regard yes it was. But before the month started I had hoped that this would be a sort of push in the right direction. I wanted to work on my story, at least that was the idea. Because I think that I truly have something interesting in my hands. Instead however I’ve been writing many different things, mostly blog posts and upcoming book reviews for my blog. I have been working on course assignments for a FutureLearn course and more. And I only spend one actual write-ins working on my actual story. I could have done better, that is as clear as day.

Did I meet my goal?

The short answer is no. Even if I’d passed the line of 10 000 words I would not have met my goal. My goal was to get back to writing on my story and that is not what happened.

What could I have done to improve my game?

Easy answer, sit my ass down behind the computer and work on the damn story or even just grab a notebook and start writing … instead I was more occupied with getting my Agent level up on The Division. Okay, I worked overtime, did a course for my job and started a course for myself. And I did work on blog posts, so I have certainly been writing. As previously mentioned my goal was to get back to working on my story and since I only did that one night I really can’t say that I reached my goal.

And what’s next?

If I decided to commit to Camp Nanowrimo in July I will really have to step up my game and I should probably work on my storyline and the plot for the rest of the story before I can actually do that. Because right now I’m kind of a loose cannon. I have no real idea of what to do next because I never got any  further than this point with my plot-line. That is what I’m going to focus on for the next few weeks. I need to get some new ideas for my plot and then I can actually commit to writing and reaching goals in writing.

Depending on what my writer’s group will do and how my plot-line progresses I will decide whether or not I am going to join Camp Nanowrimo later this year.

Camp Nanowrimo is fun and it certainly gets me to write more but so far I’ve never managed to reach my goal and win. I don’t mind so much because it’s less important to me than the November version of Nanowrimo. But it certainly is on my list of things I want to do.

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LGBTQ Romance

This is something which I came across last week and I decided that I wanted to give my opinion on the matter. During the Camp Nanowrimo meeting this past Friday I started to work on this blog. Anyway I didn’t get to finish it and I decided that I would work on it some more during the weekend. However by the time Saturday or Sunday rolled around the matter had been resolved as posted on the website by the person who this happened to and therefore I wasn’t sure if I should post it or not. But I decided for me this is something I want to write about it. This is a topic that matters to me. And not just me, but a lot of like-minded people around me.

One thing though, because this matter has been resolved I’ve decided to remove the link to the initial blog.

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Every now and then you come across something either by coincidence or maybe by sheer accident which you just can’t scroll past. You have to read it and in this case even give my opinion. It’s not something I do often but this is something I want to say something about because I think that I have something to say.

Ever since I’ve been writing at least ninety percent of what I write is LGBTQ related. A mere ten percent if even that – is either heterosexual or has nothing at all to do with romance. For that reason I consider myself a LGBTQ writer, just like I consider myself bisexual. The reason why I couldn’t scroll past this particular post has to do with both of those facts. I came across a post on a Facebook page which referred to a blog post – when I followed the link it brought me to a personal blog of two writers. No. I won’t be posting the link. Since the matter has been resolved I don’t feel that it is necessary to link to that blog or the writing contest website this is about.

The original post was dated on the thirteenth – and by now there has been made an apology by the organization behind the writing contest – but still it’s something I want to write about because it’s ridiculous especially in this day and age. In 2016 we should be able to live our lives the way we want to without being judged but apparently that is still a long way off.
The person who wrote this blog post participated in a competition with a story – a gay inspirational story which she entered into the Inspirational Romance category. Sounds logical right? Well apparently it wasn’t all that logical. If the criteria only state that it should be a romantic novel which features a religious or spiritual belief system. And assuming that those criteria are met I think that a novel featuring a gay couple, or a transgender person involved in a romantic relationship shouldn’t be a problem. At least there is nothing in the rules which excludes stories. Which is probably why the author was so surprised when she received the request by the website to move her story to a different category. Which she refused because they wanted to send the story to a none romantic story category. Reason was that none of the judges wanted to read the story because it contained a gay relationship.

Apparently you still can’t be a spiritual or religious person while also being gay. I myself am not a very religious person though I’m a Catholic – I was baptized, did my first communion and even my confirmation. While my religion might not be very important to me, I do consider myself to be a very spiritual person. Anyway that’s besides the point.
This person was asked to move their story to a different category, which she refused with good reason since the book meets the criteria. If your story doesn’t meet the criteria and you’re asked to move it to a different category I would say that it’s their good right to ask and author to move the story. But the reason here seemed to be that the judges were unwilling to read a gay romantic story. Well, the problem doesn’t lay with the story! It’s with the judges!!! What kind of a judge are you if you’re unwilling to read stories because it’s not the type of ‘romance’ you consider to be normal?

In my eyes – love is love. It’s as simple as those three little words. Love is love. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s shouldn’t matter what kind of romance story it is as long as it is well-written romance. Whether it’s F/M, M/M or F/F romance shouldn’t matter it should be about the romance. But that is just my humble opinion.

They always say don’t judge a book by it’s cover – clearly that is what they did here. They didn’t read the story they just noticed the word ‘gay’ and decided that they didn’t want to read the story, that it wasn’t worth their time.

I would like to add don’t judge a story by it’s category. When you read an LGBTQ story it doesn’t mean that gay romance is thrown at you on every bend. It could just be the fact that there is an mention of a gay relationship or even simply the fact that someone is gay and that could literally be all there is too it. Romance can be all about the courting, sex might not be part of that storyline.

Besides that, had they added a rule where they stated that only heterosexual stories were allowed for submission. An author of LGBTQ stories might not have liked that, I know I wouldn’t have but they wouldn’t have entered their story either. I have entered my fanfiction stories into challenges and sometimes they included the no gay or lesbian stories rule and while lots of people didn’t agree with it they did respect it. I always try to see it as someone saying they like scary stories but no gore. You can have scary stories but you don’t need the gore to make it scary. If you state beforehand that you don’t want something it won’t come back to haunt you.

The fact that they never stated anything in the rules and the way they handled the situation screams close minded and bigoted. Even while the end result might be the same, it feels completely different.

I applaud that the person who this happened to because she spoke up, she told her story and it’s good that she publicly shared it on her blog. The fact that she did so in the way she did is even more reason to applaud her.

Whenever I wrote a story involving lesbian romance I would warn people before they started reading it. I’m talking about fanfiction here, where warnings before a story or a chapter are very common. And I still got flamed every now and then and it has always annoyed me to no end that bigoted close-minded people ignore warnings and are judgemental when they haven’t read a single word. And this really reminded me of that situation but in my opinion in this case it’s even worse since these judges should have remained professional.

As I stated at the top of the page the issue has apparently been resolved and a sincere apology has been made by the organization of the contest. Which I think is the right thing to do of course. But it’s sad to see that even in this modern time in the year 2016 these things still happen.

Camp Nanowrimo mini-update

I guess it took me long enough to get this post finished already but I decided to add a small Camp Nanowrimo update as well. Like I said before I had no idea what I was going to write when I arrived at the meeting, but after reading this story the choice was easily made.

Camp Nanowrimo update

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Day one was a success, a complete and utter success. However so far my day one and day two writing has been the only writing I’ve been doing. Let me think for a minute while I come up with reasons why I haven’t been writing … I’ve been busy… No, honestly I just didn’t sit down to write, besides that The Division is pretty time consuming. I don’t think I’ve even been this into a game before. I love teaming up with other people and getting things done. Anyway if anyone feels like teaming up add me my gamertag is Nepeace.

But in all honesty that’s just excuses, if I’d wanted to write I could have found the time. I mean there are twentyfour hours in a day and with my new job I’m home earlier in the afternoon. So in theory I should have more time to write instead of less. I’ve just been pretty busy with a lot of things besides writing or thinking about writing.

But I’ll be fine. We have another meeting planned for Friday evening – that’s tomorrow – at the library. I’m already looking forward to it and I’m really planning on getting some stuff done. Although I’m not exactly sure what I will be writing. Maybe I’ll write another blog post or choose to work on my story. It’ll be a spur of the moment thing – at that time I will choose what feels right at that time.

I’ve just fired up Scrivener …. only to find out that I had no clear idea of which file I needed to continue writing on my story. For a second there I’d thought I lost it. An irrational fear because I’ve always been adamant about saving and backing up my stories. However I started working in a file that I gave a name that made no sense to me at this moment. The problem is that my story still has no tittle so I called it ‘2014 rewrite’ or something along those lines. Not a smart thing to do, so when I finally found it I immediately renamed it. That is not something which I ever want to go through again. Pfew! SO after that shocking discovery I took a look through some of the files and discovered yet another issue I had no idea about. I have literally reached the end of my outline. I have managed to reach chapter seven, scene three and that is where my outline ends. However when you look at the way I choose to divide my book (3 acts, 27 chapters, 3 scenes per chapter) you know that I haven’t even reached the end of the first act.

I have some ideas, but at this point I have no outline anymore. So that might also be something that I can work on. Or I can just sit down, fire up my tabled and keyboard and start typing away – freestyling it. Honestly though I had no idea, none at all. I guess that I was too focussed on writing in November and with my personal struggles in December and Januari it just didn’t register. And since I choose to write blog posts instead of actual stories so far this was something new too me.

It’s been something I’ve noticed lately – I really struggle with my memory. I tend to forget things which I could always remember. Need to keep an eye on that – if I don’t forget that is.

Anyway, I’m signing off for now. I need to get ready because I have to defend the honor of New York in a little while with my fellow agents from Delta Company 606.

I’m a member of Delta Company 606.  We’re a casual group of players who usually play between 06:00 PM CET and 12:00 AM CET. Our average age is 32 and our average level is 15.  Headsets/ Mics are strongly preferred.  If that sounds like you, join us here: https://www.the100.io/g/2343?r=184749

Camp Nanowrimo April 2016

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The kick-off!

Conveniently this years April first falls on a Friday and besides it being April Fool’s it’s also the first day of Camp Nanowrimo. The name Camp Nanowrimo says it all, it’s the camp edition of the big November version. While November is very demanding with 50 000 words in a month Camp is the slimmed down version. You have the chance to choose the amount of words you would like to write, which makes it a lot less demanding.

Which makes it perfect in my opinion. As always it’s stimulating to be in the process of writing together with a group. Yes, we do talk a lot and not much writing is actually done, well not as much as we could have done in the same time at home if we just sat down on our own. But it is stimulating never the less. Whenever you’re in doubt or can’t get that sentence right there is always a group of people who can help you out. The big difference between the Nanowrimo website and the Camp website is that your are placed in a ‘cabin’. You can opt to be put in a ‘cabin’ with a group of people of your choosing or with random writer buddies. A ‘cabin’ is basically a virtual chatroom kind of where you can post messages to the other cabin members. Of course being part of a writer’s group we opted to go in a cabin as a group. Of course it’s only a digital cabin but still it helps.

And once Camp starts our meetings in the library start back up as well, so April first as I mentioned before was a Friday and that is our usual night for the Library meetings. Camp Nanowrimo was kicked off by the Epic Blue Unicorns in style! We had an awesome meeting and honestly more fruitful than I had thought before the meeting started.

I went into this meeting fresh, literally without any ideas of what to write and I might not really write a story per say this month. At the start of the meeting I arrived first so during that time that I was alone I decided that I opted to work on my blog – I started writing a post which is currently  unfinished. About two books from a trilogy which I’ve been reading lately.

That post will follow soon, as soon as I’ve finished reading the second and the third book and maybe even the prequel.

Expect more Camp Nanowrimo updates from me soon!