Reflecting On Camp NaNo July 2020

For those of you who’ve been following me for a longer time will know I regularly take part in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) events. Every April and July they host a the camp version. Some people prefer Camp NaNo to the big event in November because in a camp, you get to decide your own goals. For this July camp, I decided to write 30k new words for my current WIP, book three in the Infernal Contracts trilogy.


The preparations for the book have been minimal since it’s the last book and I’m already familiar with the character and the major plot points. I know where it’s going to end and what the characters have to do to get there. For my previous books, I had pretty long outlines, but not this time. I only had a few post-its on the white board as a guideline, beyond that, not so much. The story came as I wrote it and I didn’t even miss my outline. The characters are alive enough in my head to know how they would react in certain situations. Each with their own perspectives. One major plotline has changed because of it, although it could still end up like I had planned. But that all depends on the characters, I suppose.

I honestly like this discovery writing, but it’s not something I can reliably do. I have to be super familiar with the characters for it to work. I hope I’ll get to that point when I’m writing a bigger series again. Then I would write faster and have more books out quicker.

You’re a winner!

I wrote 30,111 new words for this WIP in August. With the 10k I already had, I’ve passed the halfway mark of my planned word count. I know I’m far from done because I’ve written barely anything for the lead up to the climax and everything after that. I might even go beyond what I had planned for and I don’t think I’ll cut it down if I do. Most of my first drafts are so rough and unpolished I end up adding a ton of new words in later drafts.

There’s significant growth in the quality of my first drafts. If I compare the writing I’ve done the past month with the first draft of Devil’s Deal I’ve come a long way and I’m nowhere near the finish yet. Seeing myself grow as a writer is immensely satisfying. I’ll keep studying my craft books (re-reading them, taking notes) and even my own favourite books. By analysing what you love, or maybe even something you hate or think is bad, will help you find the tools you want for your own tool box.

Any NaNo event will help you become a better writer. You’re forced to adapt quickly and find the things that work for you. I noticed my best writing is done between two and four in the afternoon. That’s when my mind is the quietest. I’ll have energy from my lunch and I’ve got time between lunch and my writing time to prepare. I tickle my brain by thinking about the plot, the scenes I wrote yesterday, and trying to find the right emotions. I’ve never been a linear writer, so I write the scenes I’m most excited about or which reflect the feelings I have the most.

I’m super proud of myself to be able to reach my goal after a months long recovery period. Now I know I can finish this book this year and send it to an editor. I don’t know if I’ll have time publish it this year, but you won’t have to wait long.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting On Camp NaNo July 2020

  1. Flora says:

    Congratulations, Tessa. Not only on the success of writing £30k+ words but for honing your skills and pinpointing some best-practices. x

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