Last month was Camp NaNoWriMo, a kind of mini-NaNoWriMo that’s generally easier because you get to set your own word count goal and you don’t have to start a whole new story to participate. Well, it’s not like there’s a referee looking over your shoulder who will bounce your ass off of the world if you don’t engage in the purest of NaNoWriMo conduct during November, but whatever, some people like to stick to the arbitrary rules.
I continued the story I began in November, with a goal of just 15,000 words–which I met–bringing the story to a total of 45,000. That left me still 5,000 shy of NaNoWriMo’s standard 50,000 word novel. I also realized that my story had gone wildly off the rails, and most of what I’d been writing since the start of the year would need to be excised in editing because here I was at what should have been the endpoint of the story and yet only halfway through my rough outline. I suppose it’s what I get for not thoroughly thinking through my plot before metaphorically putting pen to paper.
The “camp” experience was underwhelming. The site assigns cabin mates who you are supposed to communicate with for encouragement or to bounce ideas off each other throughout the experience. I was assigned to a bunch of people I didn’t know, despite requesting people I was friends with in real life, and none of them were active; they barely updated their word counts (some didn’t bother at all) and didn’t participate in conversation despite my attempts. I guess they had a real life to tend to. Lucky bastards.
My reward for “winning” at camp was a 50% discount off the premier writing software, Scrivener. I started a new project using it and actually trying to outline a story using Scrivener’s lauded corkboard functionality. It’s handy and visual, although a sign that doesn’t bode well for me is that I lack the imagination to make use of the labels, categories, and keywords functions. Ultimately it doesn’t do anything that couldn’t be achieved with some clever organization of document files and folders, but it’s convenient to have everything in one place in a reasonably intuitive UI. I used to duplicate these features by writing a separate “compendium” file as I went along.
- How I Currently Use Scrivener @ Spontaneous Derivation
- How to Write a Novel Plot @ The Writer’s Workshop
- World Building vs. Narrative Necessity @ Mighty God King
- yWriter (a free alternative to Scrivener for Windows) @ Spacejock Softwre