It’s April, and around here that means Camp NaNoWriMo. This is just like NaNoWriMo, only a bit more laid back. And it’s in April, of course, rather than November. In November, for example, your goal is always 50,000 words. In April, you get to choose your goal. If you feel like you only want to do 20,000 or 10,000, that’s cool. If you feel like you want to do more than 50,000, you can do that, too, I suppose.
So S and I are both working on our novels. S is revising The Queen’s Tower; I am writing a new novel. When you revise a novel as your Camp NaNoWriMo project, you have to come up with a formula to estimate how many “words” worth of work you have done. One approach would be to simply credit yourself for every word in each section you revise, but there are obvious problems with this. First of all, it just seems like cheating to give yourself credit for, say, 2,000 words in a chapter that you actually wrote months ago, when all you did was go in and fix an awkward phrase here and there. Second of all, it actively discourages you from being a good editor, since a good editor always tries to make things shorter, and if you make a passage shorter, you’re effectively penalizing yourself. If you make that chapter 100 words shorter, then you only get to claim 1,900 words instead of 2,000.
What you end up doing, instead, is coming up with some sort of formula. “X number of words edited = Y number of words credited to my NaNoWriMo total.” Or “X number of words removed from my manuscript = Y number of words in my total.” Or you can do it by the amount of time you’ve spent working on your project, which is what S is doing. She’s giving herself credit for 500 words for every hour she spends revising, which I think is actually quite conservative.
I’ve mentioned my new project before—it’s the one with the unsympathetic protagonist that I’ve been outlining for the past few months. It’s going well so far, I think, but I’m just getting to the end of Act I, and we’re about to get a new POV character to follow. I’m really glad I spent all that time outlining it, because trying to do something with eight POV characters and 62 chapters off the top of my head would be a nightmare. So far I’m trying to do two or three chapters a day, and it’s coming along nicely.
Anyway, if we’re not quite as active on our blog over the next few weeks, that’s where we are: at camp. And everyone else should be there, too. Camp NaNo is a great way to start writing, or to get back into writing on a project you set aside earlier. It’s only April 5—there’s still plenty of time to get started and write something before the end of the month. Speaking of which, now I need to stop procrastinating and get back to work.