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Camp NaNoWriMo, Week 1 – It Drives Me Up the Wall!

June 3, 2012

OK, so I haven’t been “camping” for a full week yet – June is only three days old – but Sunday is my day to report how my writing’s going, so there.

Regular “Story-Scribbling Sunday” report first:

Work has calmed down, so while I didn’t actually have more time to write until Friday, I’ve had more time to think, to plan out scenes while at work… I solved a couple of things that I didn’t even know were problems until the solution occurred to me while I was sitting there cleaning up the lantanas or pulling up weeds, such as how to show the most recent political developments in Tokre without coming right out and telling about them in an, “in the last weeks, such-and-such had happened” sort of way, or just why Julius is searching Annabell’s grandfather’s house.

Speaking of Annabell, I keep wondering if I gave her that name because I subconsciously based her on Christabel from Tad Williams’ ‘Otherland’ series… I haven’t read them in a while, but I think Tad does a much better job with her little-girl “voice”

I had a couple of OK days, wordcount-wise, and kept the plot moving along – no getting stuck in Theresa-and-Sophie banter! The scenes have gotten shorter, because I try to move on before I start babbling pointlessly again – it’s not November any more, wordcount doesn’t matter as much as content. Some of the scenes might have a bit of a “bare bones” sort of feel to them, but I can always expand them later. For now, what matters to me is to keep pushing myself along and reach that end! Like I said a couple of days ago, I haven’t finished anything in about eight or nine years, and that story was about a sixth of “Goblins”‘s length. Currently I’m about one and a half scenes away from the end – I really only need to kill Annabell’s grandfather and bring all the storylines together.


And then there is Camp NaNo and “The Legend of Larin and Liria”. I don’t think I’ve ever started a story with so little preparation! I mean, yes, it’s just a rewrite, so I know what’s got to happen and in what order (more or less), but I haven’t even had time to read the old version through again, or the notes I’ve made of all the changes that will be necessary, I have no timeline, not even a map with me when I grab the notebook and head out of the house. And since there’s a lot of travelling going on in “Larin and Liria”, a map is kind of important. I do remember the basic geography of the Kivailo world, but I’m a little shaky on where all the principalities are, and what the rivers are called and such.

I had rather a lot of fun with the foreword to this story – “pretend history” is so much fun, when I can claim this story was passed down orally by such-and-such clan, and name the people who “translated” it, knowing they’re the main characters of “Masks”…

I still haven’t counted my words, but I think I’m not doing too badly. I have no idea if I can get 50,000 words out of that story, but considering I’m still on the first scene, I just might (and there hasn’t even been any pointless babbling yet.)

I’ve already produced a rather silly “nanoism”, though – in the first two lines of the story, even! (I apologize for the clumsy beginning, but it was Friday morning, on the way to work, and I was still half asleep.)

Once upon a time, King Mantoru was killed by his foster brother.

Thus he became king…

Grand. Now I apparently have an undead king in my story. This is not supposed to be that kind of story!

Writing by hand is going well. I like looking at my handwriting – I think it’s gotten prettier since the last time I wrote a story by hand. And writing in German is going astonishingly well – for a long time I was so used to writing in English that my native language felt weird and awkward.

And of course, my write-outside challenge! So far I’m at five writing spots besides my home:

  1. local train
  2. lunch table at work
  3. street with a view over Big Town
  4. castle wall at Big Town, on the side nearest the river
  5. castle wall at Big Town, above the rose garden


At work – not the cosiest place, but as long as I have somewhere to put down my lunch and notebook, I’m happy. I don’t really notice the heap of dirty gloves next to me or the shelf of vases above the table.

On the train – I like writing on trains, but the landscape is also so distracting! Never mind that I pass this particular bit of landscape twice a day, it still distracts me!

Looking out over Big Town – it doesn’t look big from here at all, though! I could have looked in the other direction, towards the industrial area, but this is much prettier. I found it really funny that I could see church spires of which I know they’re in the town centre, and in the foreground, farmhouses that seemed to be only a few streets away.

On the Castle wall, near the river. I originally sat in a different spot, right above the river, but when the sun came out, I had to move over to the shade of a tree – a Pagoda Tree, I think. Here I was just looking stuff up on the laptop – I’d brought it in case I wanted to work on “Goblins”, but “Larin and Liria” was more fun – looking out over the river and the castle.

Looking in the other direction, along the wall and to the hills on the other side of the river. Apart from the fact that the bench I was sitting on was rather dilapidated, it was an absolutely idyllic place to write – reasonably quiet, a cool breeze from the river, a good view, a shady tree and a blackbird singing directly above me!

I’d discovered that spot last summer, when I was showing a friend around town, and decided it would be a nice place to write – took me almost a year to actually do it!

I wandered around a bit, and temporarily got distracted by taking pictures of plants growing in the cracks of the wall (which I may post some time, but not today), then plopped myself down on a different wall – on top of the actual parapet this time, instead of a bench on a broad section of wall with railings and warning signs.

It was a little dizzying to look down at the rose garden and the tangled wilderness below:

But there was lovely shade again, from an oak tree this time, and a nice view over the town between its branches:

so it was still a nice place to write. No bird singing for me this time, but one zoomed right over my head – startled me quite a bit!  And the oak leaves were a ridiculously bright green where the sun was shining through them. I took a picture, but it turned out blurry. I absolutely love that colour, anyway.

I’d been thinking about a couple more spots that I wanted to write in, but by then, it was high time for me to get home and cook myself some dinner. Biking all over these hills to get to the castle makes you pretty hungry – and I still had to get back as well!

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