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Thursday, August 30, 2012

WINNING! Camp Nano August 2012

     Originally I had a different version of this blog post to share, but due to the word count being so far different between my wp and the Camp Nanowrimo site, I had to add more words. What I had written before, showed I had finished with 652 words to spare. But when I tried to authenticate my word count on their site, it showed only 49, 406. So for you math whizzes, that would be another 594 words!
     Keeping in mind that when I wrote the original draft, I wrote at the beginning of each day, “Day 1,” or 2 or 3 whichever it was that day. Then I would write “Sprint 1” and so on for each sprint that I did that day, and at the end of each sprinting section, the total amount of words per each sprint session. So then I took those figures and created a “Sprinting table” that showed what I was doing word count, including total words/day and cumulative totals. That way, I knew when I was behind, and how much I needed at any given point, to write to make up the deificit.
     I wish I could say “It's ready for publication,” after only one draft! But I need to edit it, rewrite it, polish it up and make it look pretty. As it is now, I've written a lot of scenes out of order. Basically, I wrote this novels first draft, like they shoot movies, with each scene out of order.
     So now I'm going to take a paper copy, highlight where the breaks should be, and then cut it...yep with scissors; into the different scenes. I'll number the pieces on the back to keep track of where they had been originally.
     Then I'll tape them back in order, though this will still mean its a rough draft (so I'll need to write the connective tissues, and sinews, to make the body whole). Then the outlining process will begin, which is when I'll put together the puzzle into it's glorious whole, a completed picture. The outline will have the details; setting, scene, characters, and plot points (action).
     Then I'm ready to rewrite and fix the rough edges, or glass shards, filing the sharpness down into where each piece fits in together. This part is where I catch problems with my picture, so I have to rethunk it (btw, I know 'rethunk' is not a real word. I'm showing my artistic license here).
     Basically, I take draft 1 and distill it down to more manageable chunks. Then I take a program like “Natural Reader” (they have a free version, but the pay one has better voices). It is easier to edit when you hear it as a reader would read it. You could also have a friend, or another writer, read it to you, and you listen doing the same thing. Listening for rough spots, where the reader trips over the word. This helps you see if you have captured the sound of what you want to convey to your reader. The other way, record yourself reading, then play it back. It is really important to do this step, as I can get a different perspective on the project. And to catch any continuity errors as well.
     Then when I've finally got it to a point where I'm happy, I put it out to a Beta reader, or an editor. Like a beta test on an online game, this is where the reader finds any glitches not caught by the writer. As I say, “If a reader has to ask for clarification, or doesn't understand what I've written, then I haven't done my job as a writer.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Write 50,000 Words in a 30 or 31 Days

     People often ask me how I do it.  "How do you write 50,000 words in a month?"  In response I say, "Writing Sprints."  If it weren't for writing sprints, I wouldn't have made the goal the last three years, (and last year in 18 days).  It's easy when you also break down the 50,000 into daily increments.  For NaNoWriMo in November is 30 days, so it works out 1667 words/day.  The Camp NaNo August is 31 days, so it is 1613/day.
     I've been behind twice so far this month, and I've caught up relatively easy due to sprinting.  I made a sprinting table which is broken down into:  Day 1, 2, 3, 4.... etc.  from top down.  Then on the cross axis, it says Sprint 1, 2, 3...etc.  Then there is a total field at the end of the sprint, and then a a cumulative word total.  What is also helpful, is a calendar which shows the word count you should be at by that point in the month.  
     To sprint, its easier when you are doing sprints with other people, either online or in person.  I do so online through a couple of groups (well more than that) on Facebook.  Someone will suggest a sprint (usually 20 minute intervals), and since a lot of us are not in the same time zone, we put the start time in minutes; i.e. :50 so for me it would be like 5:50, but my friends in the UK it is 11:50, the west coast 2:50, etc.
    If I get behind, I determine the amount I'm behind, divide by the number of days remaining in the month, then add that result to a normal day total, and that is the new minimum I have to reach to get back on track.  Though you can always do more.  I actually divided by less days, making more work,  to catch up quicker.
     So don't despair that you'll never catch up.  Just break down the numbers and go from there, remembering it's a first (rough) draft, no editing, you can skip around and do scenes out of order, and you are free to write the worst junk in the universe!   Sprinting is also good for Editing as well.  So you can keep track by number of pages done during a sprint, or number of paragraphs done.  With these tips, you should be able to finish 50,000 in a month or less!