80,000 Words in Two Weeks? #CampNaNo2020
Hello! I'm here, and I have a website and a blog! Wild, right?
If you're coming from Twitter, then hi, it's nice to see you! I'm glad you could join. If you're a member of my family, please run screaming from this space. Best wishes and goodbye. And if you don't know who I am, then that's not all that surprising.
My name is Yves, I'm 20, and I'm an Irish writer. I'm going to do a big long intro post someday with cool hashtags and interesting, well-thought-out answers, but today is not that day.
Let's talk about Camp NaNo.
If you don't know what that is: it's basically a month-long writing event where you try to churn out 50,000 words in the month of July. It goes along with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, where the goal is pretty much the same: write a first draft in a month.
I've been doing NaNo on and off for a couple of years. I think I started around 15, when I confidently told my entire class that I was working on a novel-length pice of Lord of the Rings fanfiction (hell, where did that confidence go?). I never finished said LotR fic, but I did realise just how hard it is to write thousands of words every day for a whole month.
Fast-forward to 2017. I use NaNoWriMo as a way to push through the last couple thousand words of my first ever completed draft of a now-shelved project called A Crown of Earth. For the last few years, I've been back and forth between using NaNo as a crutch to help with existing goals or skipping it altogether.
But this year, I decided I was doing it for real.
I started July with the most intense, detailed outline I've ever had. It was for a book called THE WILLOW PRINCE (the blurb of which you can read over on my BOOKS page) and it was a story that was already in existence. THE WILLOW PRINCE is the first book in a YA fantasy duology, but originally it was a standalone. When I decided to split one book into two, I decided to change the entire plot.
I spent June writing and rewriting and revising possible plots using a three-act structure until I got something I liked. Then I expanded like crazy until I had all the little details of the book firmly in a 25k+ chapter-by-chapter outline. When that nightmare was done, it was almost time for Camp. With my outline at the ready, I decided that not only was I going to aim higher than 50,000 words—I was going to do it in under three weeks. Admittedly, I’d originally planned to do it in a week, but some family stuff came up that made it impossible. Under the circumstances, I think I still did pretty well. I aimed for 90k originally, but as July ticked by and I moved through my outline, I realised I wasn’t going to need all those words. I dropped to 80k, giving me some wiggle room for when I get into revisions (more on that to come).
And I hit 80k after 17 days.
Not quite two weeks, I know. Closer to three. But still! An achievement nevertheless. It was the fastest I’ve ever completed a draft and I think—I think—it may even have converted me to a Plotter. Look how the mighty have fallen. I was so proud to be a Pantser once! Alas, such is life.
Writing so many words in such a short space of time was tough, but I really couldn’t have done it without my amazing writing community. Thank you to everyone who liked my tweets, cheered me on in group chats, and offered their time to help me get these words onto paper (or Microsoft Word). You’re the best!
If you want to see my progress from Camp as it happened, you can check out my thread. You’ll find it in the hashtag #KingArthurWIP on Twitter, which is where I post all updates relating to THE WILLOW PRINCE. That includes some VERY cute aesthetics I think you should definitely take a look at.
My next step for this book is editing. I’m taking a short break to mull over ideas and watch Alexa Donne’s videos on YouTube (check them out if you haven’t already!) and then it’s right into rereading I go. Thankfully, that super detailed outline I mentioned means I don’t have too much structural stuff to do. I have a couple gaps to fill and some details to smooth out, but for the most part I’m happy!
I’m going to leave it at that for today, but if you have any questions about Camp NaNo, THE WILLOW PRINCE, or anything else, leave them down below and I’ll try my best to get back to you.
Good luck out there,