Happy Friday! We’re a few days into May now, and after a hectic start to the month I’ve finally had some time to look back on my first Camp NaNoWriMo, think about what I gained from it and whether it’s something I will continue with in the future.
What was my goal?
My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo was to spend 55 hours on my current work in progress! I was aiming to come out with a more defined outline, more realistic characters and a more interesting, solid world for them to live in.
What did I get done?
I managed to do 45 hours overall, which was an average of 1.5 hours a day and around 81% of my overall hour count goal. So I didn’t quite reach my accumulative hour target!
However, in that time I took a step back to really analyse the plot I had. When I started, my plot was just a few lines of general fluff and pages of ideas that seemed good enough when I started writing, but the further I got, the more I realised the direction I was going in was still a little foggy. This was mainly because I hadn’t taken the time to see if the pages of ideas I had really linked together as strongly as I thought.
As a result, I spent most of the 45 hours writing up several plot directions, picking apart my ideas and trying to fit them together like puzzle pieces. Some of them fit, some of them didn’t. In the end I came out with a plot outline that I’m really happy to continue with, and I cannot wait to write it!
After settling on the outline, I realised I still needed to understand the setting and the characters a lot better. While I was writing the outline, I had a vaguely formed idea about the world I was setting it in, but much more so the characters; I was pretty familiar with their personalities as I’d already written a lot of scenes with them already, but their backstories and what made them who they were was still something I hadn’t quite tapped into.
Knowing the characters as they are at the beginning of the story actually made it more simple for me to map out their lives prior to the start of the story, and it also helped solidify how their relationships develop with each other over the course of the book, and how they view one another. From this, I was able to better envision the main theme of the story, and personal journey they were each going to take too; weaving each character arc into the plot felt surprisingly natural, and it led to more details being added to the plot.
I’m so pleased with what I’ve managed to achieve through Camp NaNoWriMo, as I’ve come out with a better defined plot, a closer relationship with my characters and a clear vision of the world they all live in, which is all so much more than I expected to!
What have I learned?
One of the lessons I’ve learned is that planning a story beforehand is incredibly helpful as long as you put the time and effort into it. That’s a pretty obvious lesson, but it’s one that I never really took on board before I started Camp.
However, the biggest lesson I learned was that setting hour count goals works much better for me than setting word count goals! So in future all my monthly writing goals will be set in hours. This is probably something I’ll have to factor in when I start NaNoWriMo this November… But that’s for future me to worry about!
I’m going to end this post by admitting that while I didn’t reach my Camp goal, I managed to do so much more than I thought I would over the course of one month, and as a result I’m happy to have participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I can’t wait to do it again. Here’s hoping it carries on through May!
How many of you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo?