Camp NaNo: Reaver

Hey, it’s been a while! I’m probably going to apologize for my absence every time this happens because I don’t want to be away but darn life gets in the way. So apologies. I realize my blog has been real quiet lately >:I

But it’s the 3rd of August, if you can believe it, and that means that July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is officially over!

For those who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is like regular NaNoWriMo, where you try to write a novel in a month, except that Camp NaNo has no rules. You can pick your word goal and you can write whatever you please. It’s just a fun summer thing to do to get you writing words with other geeky writers around the world.

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I attempted Camp NaNo again this year. But instead of doing short stories like I tried last April, I aimed for an actual novel this time. I’d recently gotten a story idea that I was really excited about and I figured it would be a perfect summer project. I knew it was going to be a biggie so I set my goal at 60k and thought it would be a great month.

The beginning, unfortunately, was pretty rough, but I mean, that was to be expected. After all, July 1st is Canada Day and I had plans with friends. But I thought it would only set me back a little bit, no big deal, I’d catch up in no time.

Hahaha. Haha. Ha.


As you can see, by day 23 I was just a liiiiittle bit behind. Just a little bit. And realizing that it was going to be very hard for me to reach 60k at that point when I wasn’t even at 15k, I changed my wordcount goal to 40k. Much more manageable, yes.

But on day 26, I had 16 022 words. I had 23 978 words left to write. And only 5 days left.

There was panic, yes. There was a very strong desire to give up and throw in the towel. But during the #NaNoInspired event on July 16th, a day of fundraising and inspiration-sharing to boost wordcounts, the NaNoWriMo Twitter account actually retweeted something I had said:

“But all this community geekery is encouraging me to keep going. I’ve chosen to write this novel, so I’d better keep at it.”

So when I was thinking of giving up, I remembered how I had been retweeted. People had seen my words of determination. They’d seen my commitment to continue writing my novel. I was now accountable.

Damn it, I thought. Well now I have to finish my novel.

Oh yes, I did it.

I wrote 24000 words in 5 days.

I don’t know how.

But I did it.

camp graph camp win

It felt so good though. I mean, after I went straight to bed and slept forever and spent some time relaxing and not churning out words–it felt really good to have the win.

Sooo enough with the numbers, here’s what the story (called Reaver) is actually about:

With civil war brewing and racial tensions running high, it never occurred to Alekess that her actions would cause any political stir. It never occurred to her that she would inspire a movement, that her name would become synonymous with hope, or that she would lose so much.

She became Reaver. She became a leader and a figurehead. A reason to fight and a reason to seek peace. And as her name was growing, becoming a blazing torch against the consuming hatred, she was struggling with herself and everything she stood for. Just as she thought she was finding herself, she realized she was losing everything she’d ever loved. She was losing herself.

Reaver is the name of a dauntless hope. But it is also the name of a terrible fear.

A fear that may yet consume her.

I don’t even know if I’m happy with that synopsis because all the times I try to explain the story to someone, I don’t know what to say. It’s one of those stories where… nothing happens. I mean, yes, stuff happens and it’s very important and it changes the world but… it’s not really anything that feels like a plot. The plot is more in the characters’ lives. And that’s a lot harder to explain in a synopsis.

Only three of the really important characters have been introduced so far, and of course they’ve decided to go against what I originally planned for them and just create their own personalities as they go along. Sigh. Oh well. Such is writing.

I’m going to have to finish the story at a later date (the 2nd draft of that dreaded manuscript I always go on about still isn’t done… *shudder*), but it was a lot of fun to write. The odd thing is, though, that there’s not really a moment in Reaver that stands out to me. Usually after writing for a month I would have some scene or another that felt important and significant.

I suppose one thing that has been important and pleasantly challenging to write is all the non-verbal communication between characters. Body language–or lack thereof–is incredibly important in this story and tells a lot about the characters and their world. And one scene that was fun to write because of this is the following:

Kneeling a few feet away from her, respectfully keeping his distance even as he tried to be close enough to reassure her, he asked, “What happened?”

She stared at him, her distress and her ebbing hostility pulsing in her eyes with a rhythm like a heartbeat. That gaze held him, communicated with him in a way that body language or words never could, and though he barely understood it, he felt it. And as he watched the distress take hold of that vibrant space, she quietly began to cry.

It’s interesting to write a scene like that, one frozen moment where they both seem to understand each other, because all their interactions up to that point have been so different. Her magic has to do with feeling the world, sensing it deeply. His magic has to do with seeing the world, understanding it logically. So them having a space where neither sight nor sense is necessary is pretty cool, as far as their development is concerned.

Anyways, I’m sure I’ve rambled on about it for long enough. Apologies, again, for the silence. There are things I want to write, just not enough time to write them. Ugh. Oh well. I shall keep trying.

What has been your best summer achievement thus far?

May you never give up.


9 thoughts on “Camp NaNo: Reaver

  1. I didn’t realize you had a blog! Congrats on finishing Camp NaNo! The story sounds interesting, but I understand how difficult how difficult it is to create a synopsis. They are no fun at all. My accomplishment is also finishing NaNo though I doubted it would happen. I have several ideas floating in the back of my mind of stories that want to be written, but finding the time to devote to them is difficult too.

  2. *pulls out party popper, blows party horn* Hooraaaaayy for finishing it! How amazing. You should be very proud of yourself for that.
    But oh my goodness, Alex, YES. ‘It’s one of those stories where… nothing happens.’ This happens to me with Ilimoskus ALL the time. I so understand. Tragic. Writing synopses, therefore, is woeful. “Well, I can’t possibly write a synopsis, because nothing happens in this story. What a terrible story. This is the worst story in the world. How can there be a story where… nothing happens?” <- Standard thought process, there.

    • Ahh thank you :D Hahaha that is just the feeling though. Such a struggle, too, because character-driven stories can be some of the best, and yet they’re the most difficult to advertise. Tsk. Such a nuisance.

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