My Unfinished Camp NaNo Story

Remember that time I said I was writing a story? In a moment of crazy confidence, I thought that I could just word vomit my way to 15,000 words even though the only fiction I’d ever written in my four decades on the planet were essays in primary and secondary school with scintillating titles like, A Day at the Seaside (yet to meet another Trini who says “seaside” instead of “beach”). It’s no surprise then that by the 5,000-word mark, I’d hit the proverbial brick wall known as cursed writer’s block.

I read and re-read and re-read what I’d written. Although I really liked my main character (and also the minor ones that I wasn’t sure would be returning at any point), I wasn’t completely happy with the crisis that I’d created around my leading lady. I edited and tweaked the direction of the story, but my fountain of ideas had dried up with no rainfall in sight.

 

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I tried to dissect the situation. Okay, maybe in my excitement I’d failed to come to terms with the task at hand. I can word vomit a blog post, but clearly, this was not my winning strategy for writing fiction. I needed an outline. I scribbled a few notes complete with circles and arrows and triple-underlined words for emphasis. I felt better about my ability to meet my target. And then Satan’s minions ensured that I wouldn’t be able to type another word! One after the other, an avalanche of stuff came at me. Some days, I didn’t have time to open up my laptop.

By July 31st, it was as if my brain had been reset to the time before I signed up for Camp NaNo. I couldn’t reconnect with my story. I didn’t even remember what it was about. My notes were hieroglyphics. Not even Uncle Stevies’s sage advice from On Writing could help me.

Having failed Camp NaNo, I let my story percolate for a while. I’ve revisited it a few times and made changes, but completion still seems so far off. I desperately want to get back to my little tale of triumph. However, my brain cells are pre-occupied with longstanding plans that are finally (knock on wood, salt over shoulder, prayers to the heavens) coming together, and I don’t have it in me right now.

Ultimately, I was aiming for NaNoWriMo in November. As things stand, I’ll be happy to just finish my short story by then. I do not see myself writing a novel in 2018. *cries in keyboard*

Maybe I should introduce an evil ghost or a demon-possessed doll to spice up my heroine’s life? I’m smiling at the possibilities…

16 thoughts on “My Unfinished Camp NaNo Story

  1. I keep thinking about NaNo, but this was not the year. I decided I didn’t need the stress. But I did start writing a novel and so did you. Most people in the general population don’t do that. It’s got to count for something. Practice at the very least.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot write anything but short stories. When I try to go too far, I flounder. So far my stories feel done around page 3 or 4 and thatโ€™s sad to me because I love books! I would love to write one but alas, as of right now thatโ€™s not my skill set.

    I do hope you can bust through that wall and carry on! We are behind you, living vicariously through your success!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve made immense progress in the midst of some time-consuming challenges. I have to update the blog on that soon. I recently listened to an interview with Stephen King about the art of the short story. It’s a skill some writers don’t have. I found it on YouTube. Find resources that help you perfect what you’re good at. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Melissa,

    I have on my bookshelf Stephen King’s On Writing book. I have yet to read it. I still hope it would help me in my writing.

    I attempted to start a novel last year. After writing my synopsis, I deemed it too silly to even be written. So I can’t give you any words of wisdom about writing novels. But I do know that sometimes, you’ve got to give your mind a rest. Eventually, you will get back into that creative wagon.

    I wish you all the best for NaNoWriMo! I can’t wait to read your short story or novel!

    Best,
    Sigrid

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sigrid. You must read On Writing! It’s compulsory reading for every writer. I’ve read it twice! I adore Stephen King’s writing. And yes, I suspect, with all that I have going on, my brain needs some rest. So I’ll keep working on my little story whenever I feel up to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I’m no stranger to writing long-form content. I’ve written pages upon pages upon pages of stuff in my professional life, off the top of my head in some cases. I wrote lengthy essays at the postgraduate level without having to create outlines. Even my final research paper’s “outline” was half a page. I just sat down and wrote it (once my supervisor showed me her big stick, ha!). This has been an unusual turn of events. I have an outline and definite characters and situations, but it’s still not done. Guess there’s more for me to uncover about my process, while I learn from other fiction writers. Things can go either which way with a WIP…

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Maybe the vampire and the evil ghost could fall in love ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ?? And yes! The second half of my life is all about new experiences. We should never stop learning about the world around us, or in this case, ourselves. Attempting this story has taught me that I have to approach this kind of writing differently from what I’ve done before. I’m a different kind of writer in this scenario. ๐Ÿค“

      Liked by 1 person

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