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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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

A year in hindsight

For me 2015 started and ended on a bad note and the middle of the year wasn’t much to speak of either. No, 2015 surely wasn’t what I expected it to be. There is not much you can do about it. Some things just aren’t in your control. So instead of focusing on the bad things this year offered me I want to focus on the good things.

I’m pretty sure that this is a year I’ll never forget and I have (privately) written more than enough about the bad things so there is no need to document that for futures sake.

So let’s see what I can come up with in the 2015, a year in hindsight review.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge

On January first I started participating in the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. I signed up for 50 books, a huge number (for me anyway) which I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach by the end of the year. However the reason why I did it was because I wanted to make sure that I would get started right away, otherwise I would just procrastinate and most likely never really start. I read 21 books throughout the year even more than I had hoped for. I will make a separate post about the books I read and the extra challenge I added for myself.

Winterberg

My parents took me with them on a vacation to Winterberg, a small town in Germany which is normally especially busy during the winter because it is in an area close to the Netherlands where you can ski and snowboard. We were there in the summer and I had the best time, it was the first time – that I can remember – that we were somewhere without an ocean or a lake in sight. I didn’t really know what to expect but I loved it. It was really what I needed this year has been filled to the brim with stress. And those couple of days – also because I didn’t have my phone the mini-usb was refusing to load my phone – were spend in complete relaxation.

Nanowrimo

I was convinced that this year was doomed, it would have been the first year since I started Nano that I wouldn’t make it. Especially since I was having such a hard time in my personal life. But I made it. And so far it was the best Nanowrimo experience ever. While I was writing I found myself in the flow constantly, no matter how tense the situation was my story allowed me to step away from it all. It was an escape, I was happy that I found it because I’m not sure if I would have made it through November and December as well as I did.

Yoga

Another thing which helped me make it through this year is yoga. If anyone would have told me that I would ever be this invested in yoga I would have laughed so hard. It was something that I didn’t get, a bunch of people sitting on mats doing impossible positions and calling it relaxing. Yes, I was one of those people who’d said all of those typically comments made about yoga. And now (for the past two years) I have been one of those people. It has helped me to stay calm during situations in which I normally would have flown off the handle, which would have made the situation worse for myself.

My colleagues

Let’s face it, without them I wouldn’t have made it through this year. We are all in the same difficult and hard to explain situation, besides us no one really knows what it was like, what happened and what has been said and done to us. The way we stood up for each other and the way we stuck together is what kept us all strong no matter how hard or difficult the situation became. We made tough choices – no, strike that we had no choice, we had to do something which no one wanted to do. We did it together and it made the load lighter for all of us.

My family

Without them where would I be. Not where I am today, certainly I wouldn’t be feeling as good as I am right now. I sit here with a smile on my face writing this. Ready to put this horrible year behind me, and step into the future.

#GirlLove

I want to share this once more, #GirlLove because I think it’s important and an easy way to make the world a better place.

2016

What I hope for in the new year is not impossible, neither is it a big thing I just want to stay true to myself and continue to be this strong person. Because in these past few months I have surprised myself in a very positive way and I am proud of myself. And I like this person that I’ve become, so my wish for the new year is to continue to work on myself and more importantly I want to feel this positive about myself.

Maybe that is what I needed to learn in 2015, to finally love myself and be positive about myself.

Anyway, I wish you all the best for the new year and may all your dreams come true!

I almost wrote ‘May the odds be ever in your favor’ … but that would be weird.

2016

My story – Silver Linings

Silver Linings is the working title, I have no idea if this will stick of if I will come up with something else.  Though I think it’s pretty likely that it will change.

First things first, I tried to write this story last year during Nanowrimo. I was looking for a story idea on the forum and I came across this very small idea. I don’t remember who posted it which is a shame and I should have documented it better, but I didn’t.

What if tattoos just randomly appear on a persons skin?
– Nano forum member / 2014

It intrigued me, it was so small and simple. Yet at the same time there was so much behind it, so many ways you could go with that simple basic idea. I instantly liked it and I wanted to see if I could write a story about it.

So I started thinking and I came up with a character – a young woman who has been in my mind for a long time. I never really saw a way to fit her in a story and now it seemed like I found a place for her. I named her Ainsley McCallum, a name which had been playing in my mind for a while.

Last year I had this vague idea of what I wanted to happen, I guess it could be seen as something similar to The Hunger Games, Divergent and other similar books. A girl in her late teens, early twenties who has to fight society to make it a better place. So yeah, in that regard it’s definitively similar. I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games (both the books and the movies) there is no shame in admitting that and writing a story which can be compared to that is not a shame at all. I wasn’t familiar with Divergent however. When I kind of ‘pitched’ my idea to my writer’s group I was quickly told that it sounded a lot like Divergent. That scared me, I didn’t read those books – hardly knew anything about it nor did I see the movies.

So I tried to stay far away from it. Because I didn’t want to ‘steal’ from it. And at the same time I was kind of bummed out because I felt like I really had something going, something interesting. While I know all about The Hunger Games I wasn’t afraid to borrow from that because I knew what to avoid. Eventually I asked for some more advice and someone told me that it might be a good idea to watch the Divergent movies because I could see for myself if my story was similar or not. I did, I watched the first movie and while I liked it I can now tell you 100%that my story is completely different and that I have nothing to worry about. Obviously I was advised by people who didn’t read the books or saw the movies themselves.

The only thing I do want to borrow from The Hunger Games books is the way that Suzanne Collins writes her characters. They are flawed and I love that, Katniss doesn’t make the right choices – she’s being influenced by the situation and people around her, she makes mistakes and fights to correct them to the best of her abilities with varying results. That is in my opinion what makes the characters real and those are the type of characters I want to write. I want Ainsley to be flawed, I want her to make mistakes, hurt the people who care for her the most. Mistrust the people who she should believe and believe in those she can better forget about. I want Ezra to make mistakes and fight to correct them, even if it seems hopeless.

Nanowrimo 2014

I started Nano in November 2014 and I struggled through the story, with each scene I wrote I wondered if I was doing something too similar to popular books and movies. And I was literally writing the most boring story ever. I managed to make it to 50 000 words, just don’t ask me how. When I hit the 50K I instantly stopped writing! I was still building up to who knows what. My story had an introduction freaking longer than the introduction and family lines of all the hobbits in The Hobbit. And the worst thing about it was that literally nothing interesting had happened. Nothing at all. It was as if I blocked myself from writing interesting scenes, I had a huge deal of what I now (in 2015) use as back-story.

Ainsley was a character who I wanted to struggle with life, she was supposedly on the edge of society. Being the victim of Laws who stopped her from being a regular contributing member of society because she didn’t get a sign (tattoo). It’s not something she has any control over, but it’s is something she’s being punished for anyway even if she can’t do anything to change it. How do you fight against something you can’t control? What does she have to do to get control?

Only I forgot something important when I started writing. She wasn’t struggling, not really. She was just having a bad time and didn’t get what she wanted – but that is part of life I guess. Ainsley’s best friend – Ezra Miles and his family were helping her out in a major way. Giving her a home, caring for her and while it might not be easy when your own parents can’t or won’t help you. She really wasn’t really struggling – she had a roof over her head, a warm meal and caring people around her (a surrogate family). So I knew that I was going to have to do something about that. And that is why I stopped writing after I hit 50k, I didn’t know what to do with the story at that time.

Camp Nanowrimo – April 2015

For months I thought about this story – obviously not constantly – but it took a while before I realized what I should do and how to change my story for the better. Then April came around and it was Camp Nano time, my writers group and I decided pretty last minute to sign up. I only signed up for 10k because I was too busy with other things – mainly work. I knew that it would give me  a chance to see if I could get the story going in a different more exciting way. I started writing and right away I knew that I was doing better. I made some decisions that seemed small in the beginning but they had a huge impact on the storyline.

With this new start that I wrote during Camp Nanowrimo I knew that I had a good base to build the rest of the story on. I didn’t add anything new to my story during the summer but in September I started to work on my outline.

Nanowrimo 2015

One of the biggest changes I made was the fact that Ezra Miles was no longer Ainsley’s best friend – in fact I turned him into an enemy. Ezra and Ainsley were in school together, both very competitive. When Ezra turned sixteen, his sign made him an apprentice of the guards while Ainsley never received her sign. Ainsley wants to survive, more than once she’s taken in by the guards which over the years has only increased the tension between the two of them. Ainsley doesn’t trust him, but he might be the person she needs to rely on …. who knows what’ll happen. I haven’t reached that part yet.

At this point I have 50K on this years version. And it is a whole lot more interesting, Ainsley has been caught by the guards, of course Ezra was one of the guards who caught her. She’s been interrogated, humiliated, investigated and put in jail. She escaped from jail and is currently on the run. At this point she ran straight into Ezra who was waiting at a location where someone else send her, supposedly because it would be safe. A place that no one knew about, so what will happen now? Will Ainsley escape from Ezra and find her own path in life or does she have to trust him? And if she does, is it real trust or just so that he might trust her and give her an easier escape? There are so many possibilities to this story now. Not even I know exactly where it will go. But I am very passionate about this version.

To me this sounds a whole lot better than the version I wrote in 2014, and who knows maybe one day you can read for yourself if I succeeded.

 

 

Nanowrimo Winner!

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As impossible as it seemed for the biggest part of the month I can proudly say I did it! Seven out of seven wins and the best win so far!

Some stats I’d like to share with you:

Word count by day:
Wednesday November 4th804
Thursday November 5th509
Friday November 6th902
Saturday November 7th1519
Sunday November 8th1296
Monday November 9th1877
Tuesday November 10th1076
Wednesday November 11th956
Thursday November 12th1101 – 10K
Friday November 13th730
Saturday November 14th5065
Sunday November 15th3553
Monday November 16th304
Tuesday November 17th796 – 20K
Wednesday November 18th516
Thursday November 19th0
Friday November 20th0
Saturday November 21st2024
Sunday November 22th1291
Monday November 23th2210
Tuesday November 24th659
Wednesday November 25th801
Thursday November 26th0
Friday November 27th6000 – 30K
Saturday November 28th5552
Sunday November 29th3231 – 40K
Monday November 30th8212 -50K

That means that I had nine days where I reached the daily word count target or blew past it. Six days with a zero as a word count. My magic word count line was at 5000 words, I surpassed that number 5065 (14th)-  6000 (27th) – 5552 (28th) – 8212 (30th). I got my work cut out for me next year!

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There is another post coming up about my story and the changes I made, since this was a re-write of last years project. Because I think that these changes made my story better.

And about the way that I used Scrivener, because that program is awesome! It helped me a lot during Nanowrimo.

It’s the final day!

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Yes, Nanowrimo 2015 is coming to an end! This month has been an absolute roller coaster for me. There is only one thing I can say when it comes to writing. I did the best I could and in hindsight I think that I have literally crossed some lines. For the first time winning wasn’t really the goal. I was happy with every single word I wrote down.

I crossed lines when it comes to my daily word counts, this had been the year where I’ve had the most days with a grand total of zero words … yes, no words at all. At the same time it has also been the year where I’ve managed to write the highest word counts in a day and I’ve broke that personal record a few times over. Especially these last couple of days. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about what happened this past month but what I can tell you is that I had a really difficult month. Early on I felt like I probably wouldn’t make it and I decided that I didn’t care. That I would be proud with whatever word count I would end with.

Before this year – and we can look back at our old novel stats in our accounts on Nanowrimo.org – I think my maximum was at 5000 words or somewhere around that number. This year I have reached the magic line of writing 5000 words in a day a couple of times and even surpassed it. Especially these last couple of days. Which is ultimately the only reason why I made it this far and might even make it to the finish line. I’m well on my way only two thousand five-hundred words left …

I’ve been writing all day and it’s going really well. So I really feel comfortable that I will make it. And that makes me even prouder. If I do I will write another post to celebrate what I did and give you a little bit more about my story. Reveal some of what I’ve been working on.

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WOW! I might just make it!

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So I had already set myself up for a total Nanowrimo fail! Not that I was pessimistic about my story or that I was stuck or anything. It’s just that there was so much I had to figure out during these last couple of weeks. And my personal life was causing so much stress that I couldn’t really get any writing done.

As a matter of fact the little writing that I did get done feels really good to me. I feel like I’m really working on something interesting here and I’ve never felt this way before. Well that’s not completely true, I’ve felt this way before once. At the time I was really angry about something that happened with some of my favorite television show characters or rather the actors. It doesn’t matter who it was but two actors were fired over something really minor stuff that happened. The thing was that immediately after these actors were fired there was talk about different actors replacing them. Literally, as in going to be the same characters. In my honest opinion that is never a good idea. It really ticked me off and I decided that I rather had two major characters – who I loved – die then see them replaced over such a small issue. I wrote a scene that in my eyes did justice to the situation and gave the fans a ‘satisfying ending’ to these character – if that was even possible. I sat down started typing and didn’t stop till I was done. I was completely immersed in the scene and to this day if I re-read that particular story I am still doubting that I’m the person who wrote that. I know that I did, however there is something different about it.  Something which I can’t really put my finger on. This happened years ago and has no real relevance today because the television channel caved under the pressure of the social network following – it was the first time I witnessed what fans can achieve – in and took both actors back. And both of them served out most of the remaining years on the show. No, I’m not talking about Paget Brewster and AJ Cook this time.

As I said this happened years ago and it has no real relevance to Nanowrimo 2015, the reason why I’m telling you this is that during this for me personally extremely difficult month I achieved to write my story with that exact same feeling. I was stressed out, had a lot of anger inside of me because of the way I’ve been treated by people who I trusted. So it would only be natural to assume that I wouldn’t really be able to set those feelings aside and that it would have influenced my writing. However when I had a little bit of spare time and I actually was able to sit down I could put all of that aside and get completely immersed in my story.  It’s an amazing feeling and it gave me time to relax. And that is why I feel so good about my writing this year. Do I know if it is any good. Not yet. So far I haven’t been reading what I’ve written so I don’t know. But I am really grateful that the crap that has been going on in my personal life has happened in this month. Because I don’t think that I could have stayed this positive if I didn’t have Nanowrimo this month.

And I’ve surpassed a number I never imaged possible this month! I reached 40 000 words! I know that if I want to reach my goal I have to be done tomorrow night. I’m not sure if I will reach that goal but I’m much closer than I ever imagined possible. My writing has been going really slow, you can see it in my stats, but I had a couple of awesome days and since the situation that I was in kind of came to a conclusion on Wednesday the 25th I have been having one awesome day after another. Purely because the biggest stress factor is gone and because I’m in the zone with this story. It’s crazy.

I was happy with each and every word I have written during this month but now that I’m this close …

Who knows, I might just make it after all.

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