Camp NaNoWriMo is almost here ! Just two more days before we hit the keyboards. And I'm almost ready. My camp shirt hangs in the closet. My Scrivener files are set up with a chapter-by chapter tentative outline, character sketches, a few pictures that show the period, a historical timeline, and a collection of articles on relevant historical events. The opening chapters are written (in first draft form). Now I'm looking ahead, hoping to complete the 50,000 to 70,000 words it will take to finish an early draft of this manuscript. Will I do it? Who knows? But I'm going to try. I've been at this business long enough to know that nothing works as well as just applying seat of pants to computer chair.
But besides the novel about antebellum Charleston, I have a new idea bouncing around in my head this morning, and I'm thinking -- ever the optimist, she is! -- that I can accomplish both at once. Here's what's cooking around the campfire.
One of the interesting highlights of doing the April or June Camp NaNoWriMo experience is the casual atmosphere. Participants write, but they also toast some imaginary marshmallows and exchange scary stories with the other campers. The program assigns us to "cabins," in which we get to know ten or twelve other campers. I asked to be assigned to a cabin with other writers of historical fiction, and then, hopeful to the end, to people who were close to my own age. The last time I did this, my cabin contained some thirteen-year-olds who got homesick or bored and disappeared after only a few days. My match-ups this year are much better, although it's hard to find other writers in their late 70s. So my cabin holds mostly those who want to write historical novels. We have three or four other retired women, several in their mid to late thirties, and a few who won't talk about their age (maybe that's a give-away!) Four of us have already published; the others are still newbies.
And we have our own little bulletin board where we can share ideas, doubts, questions, and mutually-helpful ideas. Several of our newcomers have already expressed some anxiety about two areas -- not knowing what to write and wondering about the possibilities of self-publishing. i think, perhaps, I can be of help in both areas.
I'm going to limit my cabin bulletin board postings to tips on writing and publishing. We're limited to 600 characters, so these will be short. However, I can link them to longer posts on each topic here on this blog. And who knows? Maybe by the end of the month, I'll also have a good start on that updated second edition of "The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese" that I've been thinking about and promising for a couple of years.
Can I finish the first draft of a novel in thirty days? Sure i can! Can I do two of them at once? That remains to be seen.