It’s All About The Campfire

I meant to post about how Camp NaNo is going yesterday, really I did. But then I started writing. I couldn’t help myself. I totally blame Reah and Viz, and the dramatic feel of the virtual campfire. I bet you’ve already guessed how things are going on What Lies Beneath.

The numbers have been good, though they don’t tell the whole story. As of last night, I had 16,051 words. In three days! Even I’m rather happy with that, especially given two of those days had work at the day job in them. It’s a good start, but there’s more, much more for me to be happy about so far with WLB.

The story is really unfurling for me, the world too in little touches that are beyond what I generally do when I’m making notes or outlines. It’s these things that make drafting fascinating to me, honestly. The flavor of relationships that develops, the little rituals a society might have, and finer points of personal interactions all show up most when I’m writing the first draft. Of course, this often causes minor deviations in the story from my outline, but I’m getting really good at dealing with those, incorporating them into the plan while letting them be what they want and need to be.

The characters too are coming to life for me. I mean, I know I’ve been thinking about Reah and Viz for almost a year now, but there wasn’t a lot of thinking about them during that time. Devan’s very distracting that way. And even then, when I did start seriously looking at Reah, she went and rewrote herself, junking everything I’d worked out in the process. I’d have been mad, but I love who she’s turned into, even if it is requiring me to walk a fine line in these opening chapters. I’ll manage. It just means she’s pushing me as a writer.

Most of that 16k has been Reah, by the way. I only got to Viz last night, but he’s been whispering constantly for the last week, revealing lots of secrets. I though he’d revealed most of them, in fact, until last night. I now realize he’s complex and sneaky and delights in shocking me. I love it. So many little things I learned, just in what I did last night. I’m telling you, it’s amazing to watch this happen. He invited me in, only to surprise me beyond my expectations. Some of it will need refining and smoothing in editing, but I’ll worry about that later. Right now, Viz has my full attention, when my mind isn’t on Reah at least.

In case anyone’s wondering about my reaction to how these two characters are developing, the truth is that Devan was easier in many ways. He came to me mostly formed, introducing himself almost as a real person does. I didn’t design him. He just was. With Reah and Viz, I had a lot less to work with. In fact, I knew Viz was there and what he looked like, but it took me a long time to figure out what his story was. I feel like I’m still figuring it out in some ways. I guess every novel, every set of characters, is different in many ways.

One of the things to know about WLB is that I’m going back to using dual PoV, as I did in the second and third books of the Mirrors of Bershan, only this time I’m doing it from book one. The story I’m telling belongs to both Viz and Reah. Now that I’m done one chapter in Viz’s point of view (and 4 in Reah’s), I love how distinct each of them are from the other. They’ve come from very different circumstances, though neither has led an easy life (ha, when do my characters ever?), and the ways they’ve been shaped by their paths shows clearly. It feels a bit like trying to dance with two separate partners, being passed back and forth and trying not to miss a step in the process. But I’m loving every second of it.

Even my secondary characters are all taking on lives and personalities of their own. Yes, I always strive for this, but I feel like I’m not really doing anything but aiming the torrent of words and story at the keyboard and what I want is happening mostly on its own. No, I am not complaining about that, I swear.

The one thing that’s causing me a bit of a twinge in length. Yes, I know, I go through this almost every time and it’s never as bad as I expect. Yet I think I’ve got solid cause to worry this time. I’m this far in and have barely made a dent in the outline. I’m serious. 23 entries. I’m halfway through the second one. At 16k words. Some of those entries are longer than the one I’ve finished too. I can guarantee at this point that I’ll be over 100k. I have no idea how far over, but I’m a touch concerned about it. I’m going to try to reserve judgement about it, to just write the story as it needs to be, but I make no promises that this won’t lurk in the back of my mind.

In case your wondering about how I’ve managed this amount of writing, I’ve mostly been hanging out in #writeclub on twitter doing sprints, or doing them on my own. Right now, #writeclub is going on all the time pretty much. Camp NaNo has people looking for sprint partners at all hours from what I’ve seen. That 30 minute, flat out push, and 15 minutes of break really help get to get the words rolling, then keep you going. I’m pretty much doing 4 sprints a night after work. Monday was a holiday for me, so I was able to do a lot more. My advice if you’re doing NaNo and you want some motivation to just get going, drop into the hashtag. No one judges your numbers. I mean, it’s more words. That’s always a bonus. It doesn’t matter if you do 200 words or 1000. You have more words than you did before. That means you rock.

And one final note before this becomes an excessively long post, the first novella I wrote, Through Windows and Hearts, is out for feedback at the moment. I’ve heard back from one person so far and it was quite positive, so that kind of made my day yesterday, since I got it first thing in the morning. For those who don’t remember (and I wouldn’t blame you with the amount of work I have on the go), this is the one I talked about in my post The Next Big Novella Thing. It’s inching toward publication, slowly but surely.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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