Camp NaNoWriMo: past the post

Yes, it’s time for the obligatory ‘Yay I finished!’ post. I hit my Camp NaNoWriMo target at around lunchtime on Friday. The computer finished reading the edited manuscript to me, I made the last little changes, formatted the document, and emailed it to beta readers. And then I validated the word count to get one of these:

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 16.18.55

And yet, as you can probably tell, I didn’t feel particularly ‘YAY!’. More ‘Well, I’m glad that’s done. On to the next thing.’ That would be because I chose to tackle editing a novel as my Camp project, rather than the more usual aim of writing a lot of words in a month.

I did enjoy it, sort of. It was great to understand my characters and their motivations better, to strip out the dead wood and tighten up the prose, and, in the closing stages, to think ‘Yes, I would let someone read this now.’ But let’s face it, ending the month with 8000 words less than you started with doesn’t feel like much of an achievement! Particularly when you’re doing it as part of an event which, while you can tackle projects like poetry, short stories and editing, is still pretty focused on stacking up the words.

But hey, the edit needed to be done, and I did it. I knew it wouldn’t be as impressive as writing 50K or more in a month – I got the original novel done in 6 weeks, writing 60K last November for NaNoWriMo and finishing mid-December with 81K (here are my posts about winning and finishing). I don’t care to think how many times I went through the manuscript in the last few weeks, losing a few words here, a few there. I wasn’t actually aiming to cut it, just to tighten it, so it’s quite funny that the manuscript ended up just over 10% smaller. I’d read the editing section in Stephen King’s On Writing beforehand, and thought ‘Well, I’ll never manage to cut 10%’. Just goes to show…

So what next? Another editing project, yay! This one is considerably smaller, though. I’m editing the #SecretSequel which grew out of one of the Secret Notebook stories, and it’s just under 27K. Therefore I’m hoping it won’t take a whole month, and also that editing it will help me decide what its title is, as at the moment I have no idea! The bonus is that the group of us from Fiction Writers Group who formed a cabin for Camp are sticking together for August. There were days when I wanted to do anything rather than open that manuscript again, but the example of my cabin-mates working on, even when life got in the way or computers did terrible things, kept me pretty much stuck to the computer. Writing may be a solitary activity, but we still, despite our different time zones, did it together. Thanks, guys, and see you tomorrow for Camp NaNoWriMo: the sequel!

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