Monday, 17 March 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

Gorgeous art by Hillary DePiano
Every year since I started University I swore to complete NaNoWriMo. For those of you not in the know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. Usually held in November, it gives writers 30 days to write 50,000 words. The main event is characterised by its access to universal forums, and a sense of dogged, winter grimness. Ploughing on with your word count with a busted radiator while the nights draw in. On the other hand, Camp NaNoWriMo runs twice a year in April and July, with a less rigid word count and no restriction on whether you actually write a ‘novel’ or not.
Now I have never actually managed to win any iteration of NaNoWriMo. Not for lack of motivation, just for some reason once I sat at my computer I couldn’t make a plot come together. Previously Lucius gave me the idea of writing up the plots of finished roleplay games, these already have stories, characters and events laid out for a writer to follow. So finally I accept that he has a good point and so this April I will be writing the story of our epic Robin Hood game.
I have previously mentioned this game, it was a fairly simple retelling of the Robin Hood tale, only with huge swathes of British pagan mysticism, and brilliant characterisation thrown in. This story was always close to my heart, for as long as I can remember I have loved the story of Robin Hood. Errol Flynn, Michael Morpurgo, Roger Lancelyn Green, the 1973 Disney film. (Nothing can ever quite top the excellence of Brian Bedford’s properly English tones.) My parents bought me a bow and arrow for Christmas, with a felt green hat and tunic combo, with those I was Robin Hood!
So the idea of writing-up this game as a novel means putting a new twist onto the body of Robin Hood literature; something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. This is something I will bear in mind when I am flagging somewhere in mid-April. On top of that, I have a strong plan of attack to complete this novel…
  • Set up a dramaline (like a timeline, but that also maps the peaks and troughs of the action.)
  • Writing ‘how-to write’ guides, for the five main characters. This is an aid for me, so that I can write through the eyes of characters I didn’t play in the original game.
  • Complete some actual historical research to plug some of the possible inaccuracies in my notes.
  • Take each chapter plan and chunk them up into three parts to make writing them up easier.
  • Work out the little quirks and writing styles of each chapter. References to the gods, language variation and set-pieces. If I figure out the twists in how I write beforehand, then I won’t agonize over them when April 1st ticks around.
I still don't know what to set my word count as. The main event, NaNoWriMo word count is 50,000 words, whereas Camp NaNo let's you set your own number so you can work at your own pace. I think I will stick to the standard 50k, to stay in training for November NaNo. That way when NaNovember swings around I’ll be geared up and ready to write the same amount all over again. (Psst: keep it under your hats, but I already have my next project in mind. It will mirror this novel, so I am coming up with ideas for it at the same time.)
My intention with this post is not to bog you down with complaining and constant updates, but to state my intentions here and hold myself accountable. I shall try to get up some sort of word-count widget, and possibly drop a little update after each blog post. So good luck to all you writing adventurers. I support you whole-heartedly, and can't wait to see all the excellent work we come out with.

'And the words flowed constantly for 30 days and 30 nights' ...I hope!

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