Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 is Over


July is over, and Tammy and I have finished yet another creative writing odyssey. This was a first for me: I have used the summer months for editing before, but this was the first time I have set a writing goal and typed new pages in April or July. Before I get into the whys and wherefores, I will say that I was successful. I set a goal of 30,000 words and ended up with 32,000. Tammy wrote more than I did, but I understand that she wanted to hit the full 50,000 for the month. I am proud of her for doing it, and she has said that she will finish the story in November.

Myself, I wanted to finish my 2015 novel. In 2011, I used NaNoWriMo to take a shot at rewriting the novel that I have been trying to write since I was 18. I wasn’t happy with the result, getting about halfway through it in November. In 2013, I did it again, but radically rethought the structure of the story, if retaining the geography and a lot of the fictional history. This time, I was successful, and ended up with a story that I was happy with.

I wanted to continue the story in 2014, but as November approached, I did a month of editing, and found that I needed to settle a lot of backstory in order to take it forward. Since it was only a few days before November, I didn’t really have time to prepare. I wrote what started as a one-off novel that morphed into an unsuccessful sequel to my 2008 novel. For 2015, I was more prepared. I started outlining ahead of time, and by the time November kicked off, I knew that I was now writing the first story of a two-part arc that led to my 2013 novel.

I wrote 70,000 words of it last November, but I figured I was about two chapters from being finished. If I was to be ready to write the bridge between 2015 and 2013 in 2016, I needed the 2015 story to be finished and edited.  I tried to keep working into December, and typed about eight more pages before giving it up. With so many things competing for my time and energy, writing in month-long focused efforts works well. So, I pledged to write the rest of the story in the Camp NaNoWriMo sessions.

I switched to editing, and that was successful in two ways:

  1. I found my story enjoyable, and I wanted to read the finish, and
  2. I did some rearranging and found there might be more than two chapters to finish.

April came, but I was in a cast. Not good for typing! That left July as the last chance, and Tammy committed to writing as well. A tip for those out there wanting to take part in NaNoWriMo: it’s so much easier when your spouse is taking part too.

It was a month with business trips and cycling club rides and a million other things. I struggled to make my goal, but I was driven by the desire to get the story finished so I would have a solid foundation for November. Now I’ve done it, and I am very happy.

Camp WriMo

Well…I’m giving it a try again. I think this will be y third attempt at completing a NaNoWriMo in the summer. I’ve not yet been able to “win” one of these because I never seem to have enough time. Maybe this year will be different. So far I have 1,961 written. Only 48,039 left. 😆

I’ve Crossed the Line – NaNoWriMo 2015

Tonight, I crossed the target 50,000 word mark for National Novel Writing Month. Technically, that means I’ve won for the eighth year in a row, but I’ve got a new goal in front of me: finish this book.

It’s not done, and I’ve got the rest plotted out. I really want to see it finished. I am having great success this year. There have been difficult evenings where I didn’t want to go and sit at the typewriter, but every time I’ve done so I’ve had to pull myself away again after putting out another 1,800 words or so. It’s just been going so well.

Tammy’s coming along well, too. She’s well ahead on her word count. Just not as possessed as I am… 😜

Count it.

Count it.

Plotting, pedals, and party

That about sums up our weekend.

Simon is in a panic about not having done any plotting or timeline planning for the annual NaNoWriMo coming up in a week. He has been putzing around trying to get inspired and motivated, but it wasn’t until today that he accomplished something – a timeline and some plot outlining.

Ian went to a birthday party partly in Cochrane (the bowing alley there) and partly at the Ben’s house (cake and games). We have to keep track of all the people whose parties he gets invited to this year so we can actually have a party for him next year. With this age group no one is really on the ball to get last names, phone numbers, or any other contact info. I wasn’t on the ball last year, so I’ll endeavour to be so next year.

I finally had my clip-on pedals installed today. Actually they’re double-suited pedals – one side is a normal flat pedal, the other made for clip in shoes. Simon has been on at me to switch over to clip ons, but I’ve been afraid I’d panic while riding, be unable to unclip my foot, and wipe out with major road rash. With the double sided ones I can ride my bike even if I forget my special shoes. 🙂

Ian had a really good time at the party. There were 3 boys and 2 girls (Ben’s sister and her friend I’m guessing). They bowled and ate popcorn and drank iced tea and fruit punch. Ian got over 100 bowling. Then they came back, had cake, and then went on a treasure hunt (in a local wooded area by their house) using a map!

Ian is so excited to have a friend living nearby (9 minutes by bike) that he wants to set up play dates ASAP. 😀

Official NaNoWriMo Winners…again

Tonight both Simon and I won NaNoWriMo yet again.  For me it wasn’t as much of an accomplishment as it was for Simon.  I usually write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants whereas Simon creates a somewhat comprehensive outline with dates, corresponding word count, etc.  This year he didn’t get around to doing that.  Unlike me, he also didn’t seem to have muse to guide him as this text message from five days into NaNo suggested:

Screenshot 2014-11-29 22.08.38

For a while things weren’t getting better and he was tempted to just give up, but then he switched gears (topic, genre) and things started to hum along a bit better.  Obviously this change made all the difference because he did manage to finish and one day early.  He told me that he will never pants it again and he was unanimous in that. 😀

I have to admit I was concerned that I wouldn’t have been able to complete NaNo this year.  Since I started working full-time back in September, I’d been feeling like everything was getting so behind at home (groceries, laundry, cleaning, everything else) that I couldn’t afford the luxury of writing every night. Not to mention I didn’t think I’d have the energy or ambition to do it either.  It was tough in the first week, but I persevered.  We both did and it paid off.  Congrats to us!

An Update on NaNoWriMo and Movember

We are over the halfway point of November 2014, so it’s time for an update on the annual events: NaNoWriMo and Movember.

NaNoWriMo has been a bit of an up and down experience this year. I started with one idea, but that fizzled out after only about four days of writing. I quickly shifted gears and suddenly transformed my novel into a different story, and then has been doing much better. The low point was my two nights in Medicine Hat, when I barely got three pages written over two days. Another low point came one evening when Miranda and I started having a really good father-daughter conversation. My entire writing time for the night got taken up with one of those conversations that when they start, you just have to finish them. While it was a low point for my writing, it was certainly worthwhile. But I have managed to catch up again, and that was going pretty well, until I had a medical problem.

The combination of typing a lot in the evenings, combined with having to type a long document for Medicine Hat at work, plus my daily piano practice seems to have aggravated my right wrist. So, I am dictating my NaNoWriMo now. I also am behind on my piano practice now. So here I sit, with my wrist on an ice pack and talking into the microphone to write this post. 🙂

Movember is also coming along, with a half month’s growth on my upper lip.



Something a little different this year.

IBM Selectric

It must almost be November. That’s when I “find” new typewriters… 🙂

The upside of living in a big city is that the local “classifieds” (in this case Kijiji) have a lot of stuff in them, and perhaps just what you were looking for. In this case, there was not one but two IBM Selectrics for sale. I had no good reason for wanting one, other than I wanted one.

The New Selectric

The New Selectric

This is an IBM Selectric III. Not sure the exact vintage yet. Sometime in the ’80s.

Let The Editing Begin!

Today marked day one of April. What’s so great about that? Well, for some that would be the kickoff of Camp NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month supports two spring- and summertime novelling months in addition to the original NaNoWriMo. (Fun fact: did you know that the first NaNoWriMo was held in June, not November?) One year, I took half of a Camp month to finish my previous years’ book, and Tammy has done that, too. Neither of us have unfinished works this year, but I do now have a collection of six novel drafts, none of them edited. It’s starting to get a bit embarrassing, actually.

So in the interest of polishing up at least one of them, I’m dedicating April 2014 to editing my 2013 draft. There is a good chance that this November I would like to write a sequel to this one, but there’s no way I can do that without editing first.

So we’ll see how it goes. Neither Tammy nor I have any experience really editing a novel, and part of it is figuring out what tools work for you. Unlike in the first draft, characters’ names can’t change from chapter to chapter, and the whole thing actually needs to be coherent. That means keeping track of all the facts and events. Tammy uses an application called Scrivener for her writing, but I can’t seem to warm up to it. I’m trying Apple’s Pages and using a wiki to keep my notes.

NaNoWriMo and Movember 2013 Kick Off

I really don’t know what November would be like if Tammy and I were normal people. This marks the sixth year that Tammy and I have participated in National Novel Writing Month and the third that I have participated in Movember. I have just finished six typed pages and scanned and OCR’ed them into computer files. Yes, for the fifth year, I am typing my novel on my typewriters. I moved my Underwood on to my desk a couple of weeks ago and have typed a few test pages, but tonight was the first night of laying down lots of words. Tammy is downstairs in the living room, pounding out words on the old 2001 Powerbook, which is now starting to be an antique in its own right. 🙂

Feels good.

NaNoWriMo 2012 Update

Well, as you can see in the graphs to the left, Miranda, Tammy and I have all reached our goals for the month! Miranda did it last night, and I did it the night before and Tammy crossed the line tonight. However, the refrain from all of us is: “Yes, we’ve reached our goals, but the stories aren’t done yet!” Case in point, I put out another 2,400 words tonight.

I am very proud of Miranda for reaching her goal. When Tammy told me that Miranda’s goal was 5,000 words I was doubtful she could do it. But she really took off once she shifted from writing in a notebook to typing on the Mac. (At first all I saw her doing was playing with fonts, but I bit my tongue and let her be.)

So it’s been another successful year. That’s five wins in a row for both Tammy and I. I wouldn’t be able to do it without Tammy doing it too, because some nights I know I wouldn’t type if she wasn’t going to. 🙂