I’m still trying to work out what style of writing is going to keep me going for NaNoWriMo next month. So I was hoping that maybe some feedback might help me choose. If you have the time to read through these snippets and let me know if you enjoy any or dislike any, or think something sticks out as interesting, then please let me know.
I’ve never been a planner with my writing and mostly I just write when I get the urge; I fool myself into thinking that this is because I need to be in the zone.
It’s not really true though is it?
As any writer knows, the main goal is just to actually write, whether you are in the mood for it or not. In fact this is exactly why CampNaNoWriMo exists: just to aid and encourage people to write something every day. It challenges you to pick up a pen, or attack that keyboard: but either way it pushes you to write something every single day for a month.
And I can do this, I know I can, with some self discipline (I’ll admit some days this is a challenge for me) then I know I am able to write something every day, for a month. I know, because I have done it before and I do start to get into a happy habit of it.
Yet for some reason I just can’t seem to stick to one story. My writing goal is on target, yet only half of it is the story I want to be telling: the other is just inane chatter about other ideas.
I really can’t stay with one piece of writing or one character in the same part of the story line. Instead I either end up wandering off into another random idea, or moving my character to another part of his or her life. So yes, it’s nice to be able to write every day but at the same time, I’d really like to be able to say I have finished a story: or at least one chapter without distraction.
I so admire the focus and dedication of a lot of my peers for this, as I watch them produce coherent pieces of writing with a start, middle and end. Then I look to my own Middle, near end, middle, start, middle.
If anyone has any focusing tips I’ll gladly hear them.
For my CampNaNoWriMo project this time, I’m going back to a previous story and set of characters that I never really finished and this time I’m determined to at least flesh them out enough to have a plot in place for November. So while I’m happy to be a little bit of a panster (writing with no clear plan) I want to try and be more of a Plotter next time around.
After day one however I am noticing that this time I seem to be writing more dialogue than I would normally use because the characters are now so familiar that I almost have a scene playing out in my head for them and I’m trying to just capture all of the things they would say and interact. Is this weird?
Perhaps it’s because I did a screenplay for a project in my previous writing course rather than novel writing and now my brain doesn’t seem to know when to stop. When I look at the amount of dialogue it doesn’t seem a lot yet when I am writing it then it feels like it might be too much, since people can’t exactly see the characters as I do. Or is this the point? Will this just encourage a reader to create their own version of the character as a visual in their head? I guess it just depends on how you read things: I know I create a picture in my mind of characters from reading books but does everyone else?
This also means I am often upset at the choice of casting when the books reach filming status, I’m sure we have all had those times when our crush clearly doesn’t live up to expectations.
I am so crossing my fingers and holding my breath for The Witcher adaptation.
So dialogue in a novel: good or bad?
**Please note due tio the nature of NaNoWriMo this is an unedited draft so may contain spelling mistakes but please let me know if you liked or disliked characters etc
The beast loomed above them.
Nostrils flared and creating small puffs of smoke with every exhalation. It’s thick claws grappling with the cobblestones, as it steadied itself in the unfamiliar surroundings. The stone dragon had received a rude awakening that afternoon and now all that stood between it and them was a flimsy metal shield and a broken mace.
“Stay behind me, if we move together then we can make it to door over there”
“The storage door? Are you mad?… I knew this was a bad idea, if only we had just done as we had been asked then..
“SHUT UP! .. RUN!”
The half mace flew through the air and landed with a thud on the stone dragon’s right claw. The impact was just enough to unsettle it for a few seconds as Tiffin and Estella made their way towards the small wooden door. The beast followed seconds after and was upon the door before it swung shut.
Once inside the beast froze, it stood in the darkness listening, tilting its head in the direction of the soft murmurings. It took a step forward towards a low muffled squeak, and inhaled deeply, filling it’s lungs with the damp air. Then it sat up on hind legs, lifting it’s nostrils high in the air, again it inhaled deeply, in preparation of securing its target.
A large metal skillet flying through the air hit the stone dragon right on the bridge of his snout, and two small shadowy figures crept towards the hessian sacks in the corner of the room. The beast let out an almighty howl as it whipped around, eyes trying to focus on the moving blurs.
It’s hesitance now replaced with rage as it bared his jagged teeth for all to see. Clambering over the large sacks, the beast’s claws tore through the hessian with ease. Vegetables spilled out onto the floor as the beast made its way to the top of a large mound of potatoes. There it stood hissing and spitting whilst Tiffin and Estella crouched nearby, arms clenched around one another.
The smell of earth from the vegetables crept into their nostrils, tickling their noses and causing Tiffin to sneeze. Estella tried to muffle the sound but it was too late, the beast charged towards them, Tiffin let out a yelp, Estella held her breath…
And suddenly light flooded the room.
The net landed upon the dragon swiftly and without warning, as did the cold water which appeared to shock the beast into complacency.
“Estella! …..Where are you? are you hurt?”
The gruff voice echoed through the storeroom followed by a large figure brandishing a sword in his left hand. Behind him trailed four men who set about the captured and now silent beast. As they began to tie the ends of the net around a long wooden pole, Estella stood up and shook the dust from her tunic.
“I’m fine father”
Her tone a little more indignant than one would have expected after being saved from such an ordeal.
“Fine you may be, but what if we had not been here to save you? What if Cook had not enquired how we had got rid of this beast so fast, and what if I had not been there to realise that only you would be so foolish as to approach the creature rather than pass the message on to one of the lizard catchers!”
Estella scowled a little at that remark then revealed a jagged wooden stick she still had clenched behind her back.
“I would have been fine, I still had this”
She shook what was left of the mace in the air whilst her father let out a sigh, his eyes looking past her and fixing on Tiffin.
“And what of him?”
Estella turned to see Tiffin still crouching behind a sack of potatoes, head in his hands and eyes locked on the netted stone dragon.
“You need to consider your actions Estella” His tone had calmed as he laid a gloved hand upon her shoulder “you cannot keep dragging poor Tiffin into your wild schemes, these dangerous excursions need to stop, I will not always be here to save you’
Estella thought about this a moment and nodded silently, then she turned to help Tiffin get up and led him past the placated beast. Her father watched them pass then turned to follow, his foot catching on something as he moved. Reaching down to pick up the dented skillet he smiled to himself as he noticed the leather straps crudely riveted to the inner side, and the outer side of the pan displayed a lightly etched oak tree. Without thinking he drew his hand to his chest, emblazoned with his own oak tree crest and even with all his frustration Lord Oakenhart could not help but be mildly impressed with his daughters ingenuity. In that moment his annoyance subsided and he tenderly called after Estella.
“Don’t forget your shield, little one”
The cabins are setting up once again for the camp & I have been lucky enough to settle back in with some of the people from last year’s camp, but now I am still in a ponder which writing route to take.
I know I had wanted to say my April story to carry on with in November however now I can’t seem to settle on one thing to choose for my story/genre
After the indecision about is it female fiction, is it adult fiction post I am still no where further really except that I do have some words down and ideas to spring from..
And though I am usually a bit cagey about sharing my stuff I thought I would at least put out a few snippets to see if anyone could help sway me in a direction.
Some CampNaNoWriMo choices
1- The geeky futuristic one
The ground shook all around them as they hid in the confines of the projectile room. The world had slowly been changing around them for centuries and now there were only ten left from the Viverios community. For the last year they had been surviving, but only just.
It had been 4 days since the last big attack and they were still reeling from the impact. Julian had come off the worst after receiving a bite during the ambush and now he lay in a fitful sleep, sweating profusely and shivering under the flimsy covering. Lisandra kneeled beside him and tried to provide comfort but the sight of the blood, thick and sticking to his face was making her uneasy.
“Do you think he will make it?”
Her voice wavered at the question, knowing that they had already lost five people to similar wounds in the last month. Every time they had found a new place to hide and felt a new kind of safety, the Warth hunters would somehow find them and thin their numbers. Lisandra was tired of running, they all were, she looked around the room with its windows barricaded and the floor around Julian covered in rags thick with blood and sweat.
2- The historical one
Anne stood transfixed as the men clenched their muskets tightly, preparing for war. The smallest man closest to the window started to light a match cord and drew a paper cartridge from the bag at his waist. She watched as he used his teeth to tear the paper and spat the tip out onto the floor. He opened a latch on the top of his musket and poured in the gunpowder, then tipped the musket and poured the rest down the barrel, taking care to keep the lit cord tucked away. He then dropped a musket ball into the hole and followed it with the screwed up cartridge paper. Anne watched in surprise as the musketeer pulled a long stick from the side of his weapon and proceeded to poke it down the barrel.
‘Hey, Charlie careful you don’t forget to take it out’, one of the men shouted, ‘don’t want you firing sticks at these mongrels, again’
The others roared with laughter as the young man blushed; Anne felt a smile spread across her lips. It was soon replaced with a gasp as she heard the muffled thud of a cannon being fired against the wall of the building. A small hand tugged at her sleeve, looking down she recognised the young face as one of her grandfather’s stable lads. She nodded at him as he gestured to the wide open door.
3- The er fiction (a tame snippet)
She sat cross legged, head tilted against the cold soft leather, her mind trying to decipher his thoughts. It had not been noted before how intensely he looked whilst talking about something he felt passionate over. His eyes, a pool of darkness that she would eagerly bathe in, his mouth an inviting landing which teased her with each movement. As she watched him deep in conversation she felt a pleasant feeling inside that made her outwardly shudder.
“Are you alright?” he asked with concern in his voice.
Anne-Marie bit her lip softly and replied with an embarrassed mumble “just something that tickled my neck” She gestured at the ribbons hanging on the saddle she had been leaning on.
“Oh” He nodded acceptingly and carried on talking oblivious to her subtle smirking.
4 -The Ghostly one
A sea of top hats and long jackets
Eyes like that can haunt a man…
Every night after closing I would see her alone on that stage. At first she would just walk to and fro in her delicate way, her long chiffon dress rustling in the gloom. Back and forward. I would watch her, sometimes she would pick up speed as if about to jump, and then she would hesitate, and stop frozen in her tracks. A pretty little thing she was; her hair was not honey or chestnut like the other girls but a mixture of the two and it fell in ringlets right down her back. And her eyes would call you in soon as look at her, huge round green eyes. They glistened like emeralds but were soft and pale, she was different in every way. Mouse, the other girls called her. And so she was as quiet as one too, never heard her speak in the spotlight. In fact, only time I ever heard a peep out of her was when she was all alone up there. Then you could hear her if you listened real hard, and if you did you would hear the slightest of humming that would dance upon your ears and echo inside your heart. Her tiny voice would have caused a stirring amongst a better audience. Not that these variety types would take any notice if she wasn’t juggling balls or rolling on skates.
5- The light hearted one
His chest glistened with a sticky golden hue as she lapped at the sweet scented nectar. Just a small drizzle, it would be fun like in the movies she had thought. Yet here she was with her hair matted and feeling as though she had been dragged backwards through a treacle tart. To top it off she now had to listen to the grumblings of Gerald, who was full of the satisfactory glow of ‘I told you so’.
‘we are too old for this nonsense, I told you’
Francesca rolled her eyes at him. It had taken such an effort to talk him into trying something new in an effort to revive their twenty year old marriage, but now she was left wondering why she bothered trying.
“yes ok, you win” Francesca snapped as she handed him a baby wipe.
She knew that her experiment was doomed for failure as soon as he had mentioned the use of plastic sheets. Really, how sexy were plastic sheets ever going to be!
Soo those are some of the projects I could carry on with…anyone have any thoughts or favourites that might sway me to finish them?
So I noticed today that there are only ten days to go before the next CampNaNoWriMo begins to get underway and I am already in turmoil about which piece of writing to carry on with. All I know for sure is that I am looking forward to getting stuck back into the everyday writing and I hope that previous cabin mates will be rejoining for the July camp as they were so encouraging and supportive
I know that I want to save my last storyline and perhaps get stuck into that for November (yes I am now a full convert to Nanowrites) and use this one for something different.
Lately I have been catching up with some poetry writing that tends to usually come in drabs and spurts yet lately I have been feeling somewhat inspired, obviously some weird conversations have aided me in this 🙂
I also had some wonderful and fun prompts given to me by friends both knowingly and unbeknown so that has been fun and some even taking me out of my usual style of writing. A few bits even leading into what could only be described as risqué, which is fun to write however it can be a little blush worthy to share.
So the question is do I just throw myself over the hurdle or reign things in and call it ‘female fiction’ which just sounds so lame.