Posts Tagged With: Camp Nanowrimo

A Nano Wrap Up

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Well, tomorrow is the end of Camp Nanowrimo, and I did VERY good this year.  In fact, shock of shocks, I won. I have an excellent track record at the regular Nanowrimo in November (I’ve won every year but last on account of, you know, going into labor and stuff), but I’m typically pretty terrible at Camp.  It lacks the urgency of November, and the cabins don’t really do anything for me.  Pep talks are also typically not as inspiring.  Still, it’s a good opportunity to have a little accountability.  I don’t usually win, but I usually get more done than I would have without participating.

I’ve been holding off on my writing this year (and honestly most of my hobbies, too).  The Small Boy takes precedence over everything right now.  But he’s becoming more self-sufficient with his entertainment and sleeping pretty consistently most nights.  Which means I found it pretty easy to scare up a bit of time for the writing this month.

I didn’t write things every night, though I did do things that furthered my writing career.  But I did write most nights, am about 1/3 of the way through the “final” draft of my next novel (before Autocrit, maybe Critique Circle, then 2nd/3rd party edits).  And I think, going forward, that I’m going to instate my old goal for the year.

  • I will write 20 days of the month for all the months left of 2018.

I think it’s totally doable, and I’m posting it here so that you can all keep me accountable to it.  I’ll include it when I do my rundown in December on whether I reached my goals for the year or not.  It may be a pipe dream, since the Alpha and Beta read process can take a long time, but I’m kinda hoping to get book #2 out to the world by this time next year.

Also, I GOTTA find a way to speed up that process…

That’s it for now.  T-minus 1 day until Blue Gentian releases!

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Categories: Life, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m probably crazy…

Thank you to everyone who participated in the cover poll. The results are in!

Forest: 20

Caped Heroine: 9

Sparkly Face: 4

So, it looks like I’m going with the forest one. I’ll play around with the fonts a little more and see if I can’t get something better, though, since there were a lot of comments on that.

I’m a little nervous about it. Everyone I know who does design liked the Caped Heroine best, and honestly that sort of thing is what I’m seeing from most self-employed published authors. Still, Forest has my heart, and evidently the heart of everyone who has read the book (thanks to everyone who beta’d, too!).

That’s the great thing about self-publishing, though. If Forest isn’t selling the way I’d like, we can replace with Caped Heroine and see if it does any better. Yay for total control!

Aside from a few minutes faffing around with stuff that’s already mostly done, I haven’t done any real writing in a VERY long time. In a bid of desperation, I’ve decided to sign up for Camp Nanowrimo this month. Yes, I’m crazy.

I’m trying to take it easy on myself, though. I’m calling this project “be a writer” and I’m giving myself 1000 words for every day I do something writerly. Updating the blog, editing, creating Blue Gentian’s cover, formatting, outlining, actually writing fiction, plotting, random notes and penguins and iguanas lists; anything counts.

It will be hard, especially since I’m so out of the habit and in summer school. But I have faith in me.

I want to get ready to put my next book out, now that Blue Gentian is all but finished. It’s about 1/2 way through draft 2 right now, and I have at least two more drafts before I can put it though Auto Crit and then show it to Brian. Major rewrites usually follow any Brian input, and then there’s beta reading… Basically I’m saying it’s a WHILE off, even if I do manage to get my act together. It’s called Easterbay, it’s set in Maine during the 1940s, and it features creepy fairies.

I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going. Stay tuned for more. Also, I’m Caseykins over at the Nanowrimo site if anyone wants a writing buddy.

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Lyra Marsh, and Camp

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Camp NaNoWriMo?  Over tomorrow.  And I realized again why I never do camp… it just doesn’t feel urgent enough.  Which isn’t to say it wasn’t worth it.  I’ve started all 4 stories and finished 2 of them (one, it turns out, is going to be incalculably long.  The other involves domestic violence and was harder to write than I anticipated).

I have decided to let myself be a “winner” by validating, though, because I wrote well over the 10,000 words I committed to.  I think I may have even gotten 2 things that are publishable out of it, though they will need a lot of work.

The one GREAT thing that came out of all of this is Lyra Marsh.  I’m not sure what kind of a thing she will eventually be, but I might end up setting her up a blog where she can write about her trials and tribulations as an undergrad at Pragnum.  That’s my first thought.  I’m trying to share more of my work on this thing, so I made an inspiration board for her on Pinterest, here.  And below are the first few of her entries as a teaser.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who has ever drawn a witchsona, because you all are inspirational and Lyra is the proof.  J

I’m sort of in love with this girl.  Picky-Picky is also my favorite.

Lyra’s Blog:

Okay, so isn’t the first post on a blog supposed to be about who you are and why you think you want to blog?  That’s what they tell me.  Here goes:

I’m Lyra Marsh, student at Pragnum College, majoring in Warding, with a minor in Charms.  I used to live in the dorms, but my cat, Picky-Picky, couldn’t be there with me.  She’s a tortie; a mostly black cat with a splotch of orange on her eye and chest and little white feet.  Which means we broke the rules, of course, and got thrown out.  Picky-Picky is a non-negotiable subject.

Oh, not thrown out of college.  Just thrown out of the dorms.  I’m not that crazy.

Besides, what else would I do?  Go to a regular college and major in Colonial Salem?  I mean, there’s only so much history can teach you about how it’s better to just shut up about magic.

You would think that Pragnum would be more understanding about familiars, wouldn’t you?  But supposedly I’m “too young” for one, as they “only come to older witches who have reached their majority.” Maddening.  We don’t all work on a schedule, Pragnum.  As someone who knows about protection, I can tell you that familiars come when you need looking after the most, not when you reach some sort of predetermined age.

All that shit about not needing protection now that I’m living in the dorms, where the school will protect me.  Nice try.

I don’t know.  Maybe Picky-Picky has too many cat like qualities to pass muster or something.

Wow.  I really got off subject there.

So, in any case.  Picky-Picky and I are looking for an apartment.  With no roommates.  I just got a job at Brew-tiful, the café down the street, and the owner is willing to work around my school schedule.  With that and the money I’m bringing in from selling charms on Etsy, it’s looking like I can afford something, anyway.  And I’m gonna ask mom to pitch in what she was paying for my dorm room.

Basically, that’s why I’m starting this thing.  I thought people might like to know the exploits of me and Picky-Picky as we adult in the real world.

With tips for living as a magic-user of course.  There aren’t many of us, but we matter too, damn it.

#

Found an apartment!  It’s super adorable, and I can’t wait to move in.  It’s tiny.  Just one bedroom, and I’d be surprised if it was more than 500 square feet.  But it’s perfect.  There’s a bowed window in the front that didn’t quite show in the photos, where my work desk will fit perfectly.  There’s also a strange, scrolling radiator in the bathroom.  The house is quiet and peaceful, with a lot of light coming in, too.  The bedroom will fit a double, I think, if I push the bed up against the wall on one side.  It’s one of those bungalows built in the 1920s that all look out on a central lawn.  There’s even a little porch.

I didn’t take Picky-Picky with me to the open house, of course, but she liked the pictures on craigslist.  She only stopped purring when she started patting at the rent amount.  Damn cat.

I can afford the rent.  Alright, so I’ll have to sell a few more charms or pick up an extra day at Brew-tiful.  I can make it.  It’s the deposit I’m going to have to ask mom for.  Which she might give me, though I’ll definitely have to sit through a lecture about my rule breaking propensities first. Again. Ugh.

I know what you’re thinking and I DID check out the other tenants before I filled out the credit check form.  Can’t be too careful.  I touched the stoop railings with my hands when I was walking past: in love; cozy and safe; kinda sad; exuberant; and placid, is what I read from all of them.  No red flags here.

And also, I gotta admit that I told the paper to make me look responsible after I filled it out.  Which is cheating.  But I really love this place.  We have to have it, Picky-Picky and me.  Have to.

#

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about magic, and I want to say that it works differently for everyone.  You just sort of have to learn how it goes as you do it.  For me it feels a lot like breathing, I guess.  I mean, I breathe things in and I know about them, or I can breathe words out and tell things how I want them to be.

That’s how I figured out the neighbors.  I breathed in and could sort of taste the ‘in love’ on my tongue, or the ‘sad.’  And that’s how I told the page to make me look responsible.  It’s totally controllable, when I’m using it and when I’m not.  It’s like the difference between saying to yourself “raise your arm,” but leaving your arm at your side, or actually raising your arm up.  I can tell a thing to be something without making the telling magic.

Which is why when I told my last boyfriend to go to hell, he didn’t actually go to an alternate plane of fire, just back to his mom in San Francisco.  Although…

No, I’m kidding.

There’s also like a… how do I say this?  I’m not super strong or anything.  I’m getting a little skill in warding because of all the classes I’ve been taking, but I probably couldn’t have sent Kevin off to hell if I’d legitimately tried.  That’s too big for me.  Keeping pots stirring while I’m on the phone?  Sure.  Telling my favorite shirt to come to the top of the hamper?  Of course.  But I can’t even make the busses in this damn town run on time.

The reason my charms work is because I think really hard at them while I’m putting them together, and they want to make bad guys overlook that TV set you have in the living room.  I mean, as an example.  I’ve coached them into wanting it.

It’s why I’m so good at wards and charms.  They’re subtle, and they last longer and are more potent if they think they want to do what you want them to do.  There are some kids in my class who are that “wham-bam” kind of magic you think of, but that’s not me.  And it’s not most of the folks in my major, either.

So the answer to any magic question is that it varies so much that it’s crazy.  And I happen to be the subtle kind, not the explosion kind.  But maybe you know a little more about me now?

And P. S.  No, I’m not revealing the location of Pragnum.  That’s stupid and could get me in a lot of trouble, since it’s supposed to be secret and all unless you’re a magic user.  No, it’s not like ‘Hogwarts,’ (which doesn’t exist, by the way) and you could go there if you were able to find it.  In fact, it’s pretty easy to find.  Which is why I can’t say anything more about its location.  So there.

#

Move In Day has officially come and passed.  Whoo hoo!

Except, damn it mom, I don’t need you to send me any more charms.  She’s freaking out about me living alone, even with Picky-Picky around.  And she keeps sending me these stupid amateur charms that just stink of incompetence.  I can make better stuff than that and I’m not even out of college yet.  Geez.  And does she think I don’t have any warding on my place at all?

I’m not stupid, mom.  I’m being careful.  I put the “nothing valuable, nothing magic” ward on my place the night I moved in, and I have charms at every window and door now too.  Ones I made, not that crap you sent me.  Yeah, it’s imperfect because I had to do the inside of the house and not the outside since I share a couple of walls, but that’s what the charms are for.

The place came with a refrigerator and a stove, and nothing else.  The fridge is an old mustard colored thing with a peeling sticker on the handle that’s supposed to make it look like wood.  But it cools, so that’s all I care about.  The pilot lights on the stove always stay lit, too, so I’m going to have to watch Picky-Picky.  She knows better than to bat at that stuff, but if it flickers she wants to eat it.  Too cat-like for her own good. SMH.

Mom doesn’t live around here, but Jules, my old roommate, is from just down the street.  Her parents were awesome and let me raid their garage for furniture.  I have a funky mirror, an end table for the bed I bought, and an old desk with some chairs for a kitchen table.  The desk is this huge sturdy thing that someone painted army green, and there’s one tiny drawer in it.  None of the chairs match, but all of the seats are upholstered in this awful gold brocade.  I started knitting colorful covers for them yesterday.  They’re gonna be like a patchwork rainbow when I’m done.  Granny square for the win.

I bought a mattress at Goodwill (it’s refurbished, not used.  Don’t get grossed out).  I bought my couch at Salvation Army and I LOVE it.  It’s one of those low-backed things from the 60s covered in green velvet.  Who cares if the pillows are too slouchy?  The only room that has curtains is the bedroom, and that’s also the most furnished.  I mostly just moved my dorm stuff in there, and it looks good.  Even if I am sleeping under a twin comforter on a full sized bed.  I’m the only one sleeping in it anyway.

The most important part is my work desk.  That was in my dorm, too.  Can’t go anywhere without it.  I set it in the little bowed window, and I can look out on the big tree in the neighbor’s back yard while I work.  Kinda like living in a forest.  It’s one of those Victorian roll-top desks with a thousand cubbies for all my stones, seeds, pits, feathers, wires and things.

Picky-Picky has already gotten into a spat with the neighbor cat down the street.  I told her it isn’t fair of her because she turns on the super speed and the other cat doesn’t even have a chance.  She doesn’t seem to care.  In fact, she turned her upright tail to me when I was lecturing her and cleaned her face.  I get it, brat.  Now leave the neighbor cats alone.

So basically we’re right at home.

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The NaNoWriMo Blues

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I am definitely at the point of the tale where I have the Nanowrimo blues.  Also, I haven’t written anything productive all week.  I’m ahead in word count, behind in story output.  But I’m not VERY far behind.  Could still make it if I get serious about it.  (I’m seriously feeling like I shouldn’t have signed up.)  Why am I beating my head against a rock to get this done when none of it is looking like it will be publishable stuff, even with edits…?

Which is probably the absolute wrong attitude to have. I mean, practice is practice, right?

In any case, I’ll have to decide if I’m validating.  I committed to writing 10,000 words which I will easily meet.  But what I really meant was 4 short stories of at least 2,500 words apiece.  I have 2 stories finished, one that turned into a saga of unknown length and won’t be finished for years (I’m guessing), and the other isn’t even started yet and defies all attempts.

Maybe I’m just having separation anxiety from the novel…

I’ve read all the pep-talks and communed with my cabin mates, and I think I’ll make a halfhearted push to the finish line.  After all, I still have another whole week, and only 1.5 stories to go.  Just 2000 words until the arrow hits the target on the website.  I did commit…

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I’m Officially Camping

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Alright, well, it’s official.  I’m certifiably crazy, and doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April.  The plan? 4 short stories in 4 weeks.

I’ve done stuff like this before, most notably for the Clarion Writeathon.  I typically commit to 6 short stories in 6 weeks for that, and I don’t ever quite make it.  The reason (I think)? I hardly ever have more than a plan for a story or two when I get started.  I promised myself that if I could cobble together ideas for 3 stories, I would do Camp.  And I have managed to figure out 3 stories.  Now I’m just trolling for a fourth (and actual plot points for the 3rd, but hey)…

And, of course, I’m plugging away on Blue Gentian today in a last-ditch effort to do as much as possible before the insanity starts.  The heavy reorganization parts are done, it’s just the endless drafts of polishing that are left.

We were sorted into cabins a few days ago, and I got a GREAT one this year.  We’re actually talking to each other! That never happens…

Here’s what I’m writing for Camp:

There Must Have Been some Magic in that Old Top Hat They Found: England, 1814: Sam crowns his snowman with a top hat he found in a snowbank, hoping to collect pennies for the sculpture at the faire on top of the frozen Thames.  But the snowman has other ideas.  He thinks Sam should make a wish.

La Llorona: Chicago, 1892, : When Geneva is tasked with keeping unwanted things out of Hull House, she’s thinking intoxicated husbands, not the wailing, dripping woman on the 3rd floor who is already dead.  A continuation of a sketch I wrote as a character background, here: https://caseykins.com/2013/06/08/geneva-allerton/

A Golden Apple: Italy, 1917: Hera let the thing slip from her fingers, and now a troop of half-immortal soldiers must find the golden apple hidden within the Italian front before WWI becomes a permanent conflict.

And one more, TBD…  Will it be the one where Robot Rasputin runs out of batteries? Will it be the Pony Express driver who must deliver a very strange package?  Will it be Dr. Pragnum and his Infant Restorative Tonic?  (I think I can confidently say that it will be none of those).  Stay tuned to find out!

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Camp NaNoWriMo

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Well, Camp Nanowrimo is coming up in April.  And everyone knows I can’t resist a good Nanowrimo.  So here comes the age-old dilemma on whether I should participate or not…

I’ve resisted the camp version of Nano for 2 years now because it’s just not as helpful.  The atmosphere is different at camp, the stakes are less, and there are less people participating.  I have never lost a November Nanowrimo, but I have won Camp only 50% of the time.  I always have high hopes about the cabin process and am inevitably disappointed.  It’s just not ideal, neither for my work style nor for my current projects.

But it’s also a giant writing party on the internet.  How do I stay away from that?

So, the questions are – is it worth it?  And what project would I commit to?  I already have more drafts of novels than I know what to do with. I don’t actually want to write a novel in a month right now, either.  That takes stamina, man.  So that leaves progress on current projects by benchmark.  I have half a mind to commit to 4 short stories in 4 weeks.  Setting actual, measurable goals for this draft of Blue Gentian would be helpful, too.

I don’t know… I have a month to decide, right?  Nothing is happening over there until April.

Giant writing party on the internet!  And their art is so cool this time around, too!

Or maybe I should just keep plugging and forget the whole Camp Nanowrimo thing. It’s hardly ever a good idea.

Except…

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Camp Nanowrimo July

It is Camp Nanowrimo this month.  I wasn’t going to participate because I don’t need to write any more horrible first drafts of novels until this current one is in shape.  And then I realized that I have exactly 31 chapters that are unedited.  That’s one for every day in July. 

I am officially giving myself 1615 words for every chapter I complete, for a total of the traditional 50,000 by the end.   Thanks to my Logic final exam I’m a chapter behind.  But I can totally catch up and win.  Giving myself a deadline has made the novel much better behaved.  I think I whipped it into shape with this scheme, opposed a little discipline.  I’m feeling like the enforcer. 

Well, I was until this morning, anyway.  I’ve been in editing mode for so long that I’ve reached a chapter which needs to be added and I’m feeling really loathe to write anything from scratch.  Make stuff up?  Out of my own head?  But it’s so haa-ard.

Ok, I’ll stop whining now and put my hands back to the keyboard.  Must make word count!

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